Maori All Blacks

Maori All Blacks 32-17 Ireland: Visitors well beaten in tour opener

The hosts dazzled in a one-sided first half in which they scored four tries to Ireland's one to open up a 22-point advantage.

Gavin Coombes crossed after the break as Ireland improved but it was too late to seriously threaten the Maori lead.

The visitors also lost James Hume and Cian Healy to second-half injuries.

Māori All Black Sean Wainui a 'talented individual with great mana'

Wainui has died in a car crash near Tauranga on Monday morning.

The crash happened just before 8am at McLaren Falls Park, with the 25-year-old dying at the scene as the sole occupant of the vehicle.

Chiefs and Māori All Blacks coach Clayton McMillan said Wainui's death was a huge loss.

"Sean was an incredibly talented individual and held a great amount of mana among his fellow teammates and the wider rugby community.

Lowe double underpins Māori All Blacks win

Skipper Ash Dixon's 22nd minute try from a rolling maul broke the deadlock, but Samoa hit back barely two minutes later.

First five-eighth Rodney Iona sparked the initial break, before finding winger Neria Fomai out wide on the left.

The scoreline remained at 7-7 until six minutes from halftime, when centre Billy Proctor's offload found Jonah Lowe who had too much pace for the cover defence.

The Māori All Blacks extended their lead right on the hooter, awarded a penalty try after Samoan flanker Sam Slade was yellow carded for a maul infringement

Maori All Blacks too strong for Samoa

The Maori scored five tries to one and led 21-7 at half time in an empty Sky Stadium.

Shaun Stevenson touched down twice while his Chiefs team-mate Sean Wainui also scored in the first half.

Captain Ash Dixon and number eight Whetukamokamo Douglas scored second half tries, while Otere Black and Josh Ioane were perfect with the boot.

While the Maori side was stacked with Super Rugby players, Samoa featured a largely New Zealand based side featuring 11 debutants.

Being a Māori All Black means more than just the game

While the game will be played without fans it will still have a big impact on the players.

For some of the Māori players it might be the highest honour they achieve and it also gives them another chance to connect with their heritage.

And for Samoa it's a chance for the side to get together, something that doesn't happen often enough.

A win over the 2005 British and Irish Lions would go down as one of the Māori All Blacks most memorable victories in recent years, along with wins over Ireland and England.

Seven new caps to start for Manu Samoa against Māori ABs

Props Albert Anae and Kalolo Tuiloma will make their international debut in the front row, either side of Blues hooker Ray Niuia.

Counties Manukau lock Samuel Slade and Hunter Wildfires number eight Olajuwon Noa are the other new faces in the forward pack, while Samoa sevens internationals Neria Fomai, Losi Filipo and Tomasi Alosio all debut out wide.

Former New Zealand Under 20s hooker JP Sauni is also set to make his first test appearance off the bench, alongside Otago prop Jonah Aoina and Samoa-based duo Theo McFarland and Elisapeta Alofipo.

Maori All Blacks name two debutants for battle with Samoa

Highlanders lock Josh Dickson and Tasman loose forward Jacob Norris – a late addition to the squad and older brother of teammate Ollie Norris – will both make their debuts off the bench for the New Zealand representative side.

The starting pack features an experienced front row of Hurricanes loosehead prop Pouri Rakete-Stones, Highlanders tighthead Josh Hohneck and Kapene (captain) Ash Dixon at hooker. Blues rate Kurt Eklund, Super Rugby teammate Marcel Renata and Crusaders Rookie of the Year Tamaiti Williams will provide impact off the bench.

No crowds for Manu Samoa following alert level change

Sky Stadium said all tickets for Saturday's clash against the Māori All Blacks will be refunded.

Manu Samoa coach Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua, said they're looking forward to their first game in New Zealand but disappointed that their fans won't be able to see them play.

Saturday's clash will be Samoa's first taste of international rugby since the 2019 World Cup, while they last played in Wellington back in 2004.

Māori ABs clash extra special for Wellington based Manu

Veteran lock Teofilo Paulo returned to New Zealand last year after eight seasons abroad, including stints playing in Ireland, Wales, Italy and England.

He played the last of his 37 tests for Samoa against Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup and, closing in on his 34th birthday, figured his time in the international arena was probably up.

"I'm probably lucky with Covid and stuff that a few of the boys from overseas can't make it back but I'll take it and just ready to put one last shift in for the country," he said.

Two debutants in Māori All Blacks

Chiefs prop Ollie Norris and Highlanders loose forward Josh Dickson are in the team for the first time, with Highlanders hooker Ash Dixon named kāpene (captain).

It will be the first time the sides have met since 2008, with matches in Wellington (June 26) and an exciting double header alongside the All Blacks and Tonga at Mt Smart in Auckland (July 3).

Dixon made his debut for the side in 2013 he has led the past five campaigns.