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Four All Blacks in NZ Maori side

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/11/2016 Angelo Risso
Rieko Ioane © AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE LOPEZ Rieko Ioane

Four members of the 36-man All Blacks touring squad will pull on the New Zealand Maori jumper in Chicago after being selected to play USA.

Young guns Rieko Ioane and Damian McKenzie, as well as halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow and loose forward Elliot Dixon, have all been released to play for New Zealand Maori.

The quartet, all previous New Zealand Maori representatives, will start from the first minute on Friday and thus miss their Test side's clash with Ireland a day later.

"These guys are all familiar with our environment so we know they are able to move between the All Blacks and our squad with great ease," coach Colin Cooper told All Blacks TV.

"This is the most experienced squad we've had for a while."

Cooper has named just three New Zealand Maori debutants for the clash in Chicago's southwest, including Blues flanker Kara Pryor in the No.7 jumper.

Fellow debutants Marcel Renata and Leighton Price will start from the pine.

Hooker Ash Dixon, meanwhile, will skipper the side, aided by former captain and Crusaders second-five Tim Bateman.

Cooper expected his side to give USA, who fell out of last year's World Cup in the group stage, the respect they deserved.

"Dixon takes on the captaincy duties this year but really he's been part of the set-up for a while," Cooper said.

"I know the team will have some really solid decision makers on the field."

Prop Kane Hames will also start at loosehead after being singled out by All Blacks boss Steve Hansen as potential Test front-row injury cover.

New Zealand Maori will follow up Friday's match with games against Munster in Limerick and the Harlequins in London.

NEW ZEALAND MAORI: Damian McKenzie, Rieko Ioane, Matt Proctor, Tim Bateman, James Lowe, Ihaia West, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Akira Ioane, Kara Pryor, Elliot Dixon, Tom Franklin, Jacob Skeen, Ben May, Ash Dixon (c), Kane Hames. RESERVES: Joe Royal, Chris Eves, Marcel Renata, Leighton Price, Shane Christie, Brad Weber, Marty McKenzie, Sean Wainui.

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