Friday, March 30, 2007

Upcoming NZ Maori vs. USA

June 5, 2006

nz maori

I'm awaiting the NZ Maori starting lineup to face the United States Eagles for Wednesday night's Churchill Cup match in San Francisco. The Eagles fell to Ireland "A" 28-13 on Saturday, and the Maori look like a much stiffer test for the Americans. The Maori are stuffed with experienced Super 14 veterans, especially in the engine room with locks Paul Tito and Kristian Ormsby, both experienced NZ Maori veterans, are coming out of the Super 14 Final; the Maori front rowers (Greg Feek, Scott Linklater, Joe McDonnell, Deacon Manu) have a ton of experience; add Jono Gibbes at the back, and it could add up to an education for the Eagles pack. If Taseva Lavea can get fast ball out wide to Shannon Paku and Hosea Gear, it could be a very long day for the home side.

Having said all that, comments posted on the Ireland-Eagles thread in the IRB forum seem to suggest the USA loss to Ireland was flattering and that the Eagles looked like a pretty good side.

We shall see... and we'll have to wait for Maori coach Donny Stevenson's selections to face them...

[Update:] The Maori team has been announced. Probably not what you would consider their first XV, but pretty formidible all the same...

Five players will make their debut for the New Zealand Maori team on Thursday (NZ time) when the team kicks off its Churchill Cup campaign against the United States in San Francisco.

North Harbour prop Mike Noble, Otago halfback Chris Smylie, Hawke’s Bay first five Matt Berquist, Waikato midfielder Richard Kahui and North Harbour winger Zar Lawrence have been named in the starting line-up for the competition opener.

Taranaki lock Paul Tito takes over the captaincy from Jono Gibbes, who has been named in the reserves.

New Zealand Maori coach Donny Stevenson said he hoped the team would continue its form against the United States following last Friday’s 20-16 win against the New South Wales Waratahs in Sydney.

“We will look to lift our game a notch after last week’s win. Our understanding is that rugby is growing here and we are delighted that we can aid the development of the game in this part of the world,” Stevenson said.

New Zealand Maori team: 1. Greg Feek, 2. Luke Mahoney, 3. Mike Noble, 4. Kristian Ormsby, 5. Paul Tito (captain), 6. Thomas Waldrom, 7. Liam Messam, 8. Jake Paringatai, 9. Chris Smylie, 10. Matt Berquist, 11. Cory Jane, 12. Pehi Te Whare, 13. Richard Kahui, 14. Zar Lawrence, 15. Shannon Paku. Reserves: 16. Scott Linklater, 17. Deacon Manu, 18. Ross Filipo, 19. Jono Gibbes, 20. Corey Tamou, 21. Callum Bruce, 22. Anthony Tahana

Source: Rugby Canada


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