The Māori All Blacks have returned home after their successful North American Tour.
The team represented the legacy of the jersey and the team very well, winning both of their tests against Canada and the USA, and now, head coach Colin Cooper and the team have both been recognised for their achievements by being named as finalists in the Māori Sports Awards for coach and team of the year.
The boys are happy to be back on home soil and are proud of their efforts on tour.
Player Tim Bateman (Ngāi Tahu) says it was always going to be tough on the field, and even the response they received off-field was a success.
Coach Colin Cooper explains that in their last game, it took them 76 minutes to win it, and that it their wairua that got them there in the end.
Coach Cooper is also very humbled to be named as a finalist for coach of the year at the Māori Sports Awards, saying it was definitely a team effort.
The team is also a finalist in the Māori Sports Awards Team of The Year section.
Coach Cooper felt the team represented Māoridom and NZ rugby well, and was proud to be part of the team.
Bateman says it was obvious by the amount of interest shown in them, that rugby and the Māori culture were highlighted brilliantly in that part of the world.
He says the stadiums were sold out in two days, which can only be good for Māoridom.