Eight changes for Maori team

New Zealand Maori Coach Donny Stevenson has made eight changes to the starting line-up for the team’s second Churchill Cup match, against Ireland ‘A’ in Exeter on Tuesday.

The changes in the forwards are in the front row, with a new-look trio of Craig West, Aled de Malmanche and Ben May, and in the second row where Hayden Triggs comes in for Isaac Ross.

In the backline, Tamati Ellison will start at fly-half in place of Callum Bruce and Dwayne Sweeney is at outside centre for Jason Kawau. Hosea Gear is on the right wing for Pehi Te Whare and Shannon Paku starts at fullback in place of Glen Horton.

Scott Waldrom has been bracketed with Tanerau Latimer in the starting line-up. Latimer suffered a cut above the eye in the game against Canada. A final decision will be made Tuesday.

Coach Stevenson said player welfare played a key role in the decision to rotate players.

“We are scheduled to play three games in eight days and on such a short and intense trip, it is important that our players are looked after. We have a strong squad with quality players and we don’t think the changes will affect the way we play,” Stevenson said.

He added that the 59-23 win against Canada in the first match on the weekend was the ideal start to the team’s Churchill Cup defence.

“We were determined to get our campaign off to a good start, and we achieved that. The key for us now is to build on that and ensure that we play good rugby to advance to the final. Ireland A will be a challenge and the short turnaround in matches will certainly test us,” Stevenson said.

New Zealand Maori: 15 Shannon Paku, 14 Hosea Gear, 13 Dwayne Sweeney, 12 Rua Tipoki, 11 Anthony Tahana, 10 Tamati Ellison, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Warren Smith, 7 Scott Waldrom/Tanerau Latimer, 6 Angus Macdonald, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Kristian Ormsby, 3 Ben May, 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Craig West.
Replacements: 16 Luke Mahoney, 17 Hoani Tui, 18 Isaac Ross, 19 Jarrad Hoeata, 20 James Rodley, 21 Callum Bruce, 22 Pehi Te Whare.

Date: Tuesday, May 29
Venue: Sandy Park, Exeter
Kick-off: 20.00 (19.00 GMT)


365 Digital

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