Walker-Leawere to start in Maori ABs

BIG WEEK: Former Gisborne Boys’ High School first 15 skipper Isaia Walker-Leawere (here scoring for the school) was this week named in the Hurricanes Super Rugby squad for 2019 and yesterday was named in the Maori All Blacks run-on team to play the USA Eagles in Chicago tomorrow (NZ time). File picture by Paul Rickard

Former Gisborne Boys’ High School first 15 captain Isaia Walker-Leawere has earned a run-on debut for the Maori All Blacks against the USA Eagles in Chicago tomorrow.

Walker-Leawere, 21, is a 1.97-metre, 122-kilogram lock with club side Poneke.He played for Wellington in the Mitre 10 Cup, was injury cover in this year’s Hurricanes Super Rugby squad, and this week was named in the Hurricanes squad for 2019.

He is one of four players with Ngati Porou links named yesterday in the Maori All Blacks 23-man squad for The Rugby Weekend triple-header in Chicago.

The others with Ngati Porou links are Brad Weber (Hawke’s Bay), Regan Ware (Taranaki) and Ross Wright (Northland). Wright also has Ngati Whatua links.

Two players, Mitch Karpik (Bay of Plenty) and Jonathan Ruru (Auckland), have Rongomaiwahine — the traditional iwi of Mahia Peninsula — and Ngati Kahungunu listed as their iwi/tribal affiliation.

Ash Dixon (Hawke’s Bay, Ngati Tahinga) was named captain.

Head coach Clayton McMillan has named 10 debutants in the 23-man squad. They are Walker-Leawere, Pari Pari Parkinson, Karpik, Ware, Jonah Lowe, Robbie Abel, Hoani Matenga, Billy Harmon, Josh Ioane and Matty Lansdown.

Walker-Leawere, Parkinson, Lowe, Ware and Karpik were all picked for the run-on team.

“Izzy (Walker-Leawere) and Pari Pari (Parkinson) come off the back of some great Mitre 10 Cup campaigns,” McMillan said.

“They’re extremely big rigs, 270 odd kilos between then — a lot of raw meat, real power, and if they put that to good use I’m sure the team will benefit from it.

McMillan said the team had enjoyed their preparation in Chicago but there were challenges.

“Some of the guys are a little bit banged up — 100 minutes of rugby in the Mitre 10 Cup Final has taken its toll but we’re managing the boys’ loads pretty closely as we don’t want to overcook them,” he said.

“They are smart, professional players, and they know how to prepare for this game.”

McMillan said he was expecting the USA team to be physically demanding.

“They’ll be what we expect from a lot of American athletes — big, strong, a direct style of rugby, a lot of mauling . . . a very physical encounter. We’re prepared to match fire with fire but want to be smart and use a bit of width as well.

“We need to respect the fact that the Eagles have some power up front. They have tall timber and we need to ensure we get our share of quality ball to give our backs the opportunity to play and to have a mindset of spreading the ball and doing justice to the Maori jersey and playing a brand of rugby that is synonymous with Maori rugby. That is about showing a lot of flair and confidence, in a free-spirited nature.”

The Maori All Blacks play USA on Soldier Field in Chicago tomorrow at midday (NZ time); Brazil in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Sunday, November 11, at 11am (NZT); and Chile in Las Condes, Chile, on November 18, at 9am (NZT).

The Maori All Blacks squad members, with province and iwi/tribe, are: 1 Chris Eves, North Harbour, Waikato/Tainui; 2 Ash Dixon (captain), Hawke’s Bay, Ngati Tahinga; 3 Ben May, Hawke’s Bay, Ngati Maniapoto/Waikato; 4 Isaia Walker-Leawere, Wellington, Ngati Porou; 5 Pari Pari Parkinson, Tasman, Te Whanau a Apanui; 6 Reed Prinsep, Canterbury, Te Rarawa; 7 Mitch Karpik, Bay of Plenty, Rongomaiwahine/Ngati Kahungunu; 8 Akira Ioane, Auckland, Ngapuhi/Te Whanau a Apanui; 9 Brad Weber, Hawke’s Bay, Ngati Porou; 10 Otere Black, Manawatu, Ngai Tuhoe/Te Whanau a Apanui/Ngati Tuwharetoa; 11 Regan Ware, Taranaki, Ngati Porou; 12 Teihorangi Walden, Taranaki, Ngati Kahungunu/Nga Rauru; 13 Rob Thompson, Manawatu, Ngati Kahungunu/Nga Rauru; 14 Jonah Lowe, Hawke’s Bay, Ngati Pikiao; 15 Shaun Stevenson, North Harbour, Ngapuhi; 16 Robbie Abel, Auckland, Ngati Wai, Waikato-Tainui, Ngati Hine; 17 Ross Wright, Northland, Ngati Whatua/Ngati Porou; 18 Marcel Renata, Auckland, Ngati Whanaunga/Ngai Takoto; 19 Hoani Matenga, Bay of Plenty, Rangitane/Te Whanau a Apanui; 20 Billy Harmon, Canterbury, Ngai Tahu; 21 Jonathan Ruru, Auckland, Ngati Kahungunu/Rongomaiwahine; 22 Josh Ioane, Otago, Te Rarawa; 23 Matty Lansdown, Waikato, Te Atiawa.

Former Gisborne Boys’ High School first 15 captain Isaia Walker-Leawere has earned a run-on debut for the Maori All Blacks against the USA Eagles in Chicago tomorrow.

Walker-Leawere, 21, is a 1.97-metre, 122-kilogram lock with club side Poneke.He played for Wellington in the Mitre 10 Cup, was injury cover in this year’s Hurricanes Super Rugby squad, and this week was named in the Hurricanes squad for 2019.

He is one of four players with Ngati Porou links named yesterday in the Maori All Blacks 23-man squad for The Rugby Weekend triple-header in Chicago.

The others with Ngati Porou links are Brad Weber (Hawke’s Bay), Regan Ware (Taranaki) and Ross Wright (Northland). Wright also has Ngati Whatua links.

Two players, Mitch Karpik (Bay of Plenty) and Jonathan Ruru (Auckland), have Rongomaiwahine — the traditional iwi of Mahia Peninsula — and Ngati Kahungunu listed as their iwi/tribal affiliation.

Ash Dixon (Hawke’s Bay, Ngati Tahinga) was named captain.

Head coach Clayton McMillan has named 10 debutants in the 23-man squad. They are Walker-Leawere, Pari Pari Parkinson, Karpik, Ware, Jonah Lowe, Robbie Abel, Hoani Matenga, Billy Harmon, Josh Ioane and Matty Lansdown.

Walker-Leawere, Parkinson, Lowe, Ware and Karpik were all picked for the run-on team.

“Izzy (Walker-Leawere) and Pari Pari (Parkinson) come off the back of some great Mitre 10 Cup campaigns,” McMillan said.

“They’re extremely big rigs, 270 odd kilos between then — a lot of raw meat, real power, and if they put that to good use I’m sure the team will benefit from it.

McMillan said the team had enjoyed their preparation in Chicago but there were challenges.

“Some of the guys are a little bit banged up — 100 minutes of rugby in the Mitre 10 Cup Final has taken its toll but we’re managing the boys’ loads pretty closely as we don’t want to overcook them,” he said.

“They are smart, professional players, and they know how to prepare for this game.”

McMillan said he was expecting the USA team to be physically demanding.

“They’ll be what we expect from a lot of American athletes — big, strong, a direct style of rugby, a lot of mauling . . . a very physical encounter. We’re prepared to match fire with fire but want to be smart and use a bit of width as well.

“We need to respect the fact that the Eagles have some power up front. They have tall timber and we need to ensure we get our share of quality ball to give our backs the opportunity to play and to have a mindset of spreading the ball and doing justice to the Maori jersey and playing a brand of rugby that is synonymous with Maori rugby. That is about showing a lot of flair and confidence, in a free-spirited nature.”

The Maori All Blacks play USA on Soldier Field in Chicago tomorrow at midday (NZ time); Brazil in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Sunday, November 11, at 11am (NZT); and Chile in Las Condes, Chile, on November 18, at 9am (NZT).

The Maori All Blacks squad members, with province and iwi/tribe, are: 1 Chris Eves, North Harbour, Waikato/Tainui; 2 Ash Dixon (captain), Hawke’s Bay, Ngati Tahinga; 3 Ben May, Hawke’s Bay, Ngati Maniapoto/Waikato; 4 Isaia Walker-Leawere, Wellington, Ngati Porou; 5 Pari Pari Parkinson, Tasman, Te Whanau a Apanui; 6 Reed Prinsep, Canterbury, Te Rarawa; 7 Mitch Karpik, Bay of Plenty, Rongomaiwahine/Ngati Kahungunu; 8 Akira Ioane, Auckland, Ngapuhi/Te Whanau a Apanui; 9 Brad Weber, Hawke’s Bay, Ngati Porou; 10 Otere Black, Manawatu, Ngai Tuhoe/Te Whanau a Apanui/Ngati Tuwharetoa; 11 Regan Ware, Taranaki, Ngati Porou; 12 Teihorangi Walden, Taranaki, Ngati Kahungunu/Nga Rauru; 13 Rob Thompson, Manawatu, Ngati Kahungunu/Nga Rauru; 14 Jonah Lowe, Hawke’s Bay, Ngati Pikiao; 15 Shaun Stevenson, North Harbour, Ngapuhi; 16 Robbie Abel, Auckland, Ngati Wai, Waikato-Tainui, Ngati Hine; 17 Ross Wright, Northland, Ngati Whatua/Ngati Porou; 18 Marcel Renata, Auckland, Ngati Whanaunga/Ngai Takoto; 19 Hoani Matenga, Bay of Plenty, Rangitane/Te Whanau a Apanui; 20 Billy Harmon, Canterbury, Ngai Tahu; 21 Jonathan Ruru, Auckland, Ngati Kahungunu/Rongomaiwahine; 22 Josh Ioane, Otago, Te Rarawa; 23 Matty Lansdown, Waikato, Te Atiawa.

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