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Maori All Blacks make seven changes

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/11/2016

Marty McKenzie replaces his brother Damian at fullback in one of seven changes to the Maori All Blacks side to face Irish outfit Munster in Limerick.

Coach Colin Cooper was always going to make at least four changes from the team who thrashed the United States 54-7 in Chicago, with All Blacks tour members no longer available to him.

Damian McKenize, winger Rieko Ioane, halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow and flanker Elliot Dixon have all made way, allowing Cooper to introduce three uncapped players.

Manawatu winger Ambrose Curtis will play his first match for the Maori side, along with Tasman halfback Billy Guyton and Canterbury blindside flanker Reed Prinsep.

Two other uncapped players on the reserves bench are Waikato flanker Whetu Douglas and Wellington hooker Leni Apisai.

Along with the McKenzie switch at fullback, Cooper has introduced Otere Black at first five-eighth in place of Ihaia West and injected flanker Shane Christie and lock Leighton Price for Kara Pryor and Jacob Skeen respectively.

Cooper expects Munster to provide a staunch physical challenge and hopes his team can be as effective with their territorial game as they were in Chicago.

"Our exit plays last week were particularly good and I thought that was the edge that we had over the US. We played a lot of rugby in their half," he said.

"With Munster being another physical pack, particularly at lineout driving time, we will want to play the game in their half."

Cooper says he has always admired Munster for their passion and is looking forward to experiencing the famed atmosphere at Thomond Park.

"I think every player at some stage in their career would like to play Munster in Limerick," he said.

"Ireland beating the All Blacks at the weekend - it's got everyone pretty hummed here so it will be a mighty contest."

Maori All Blacks: Marty McKenzie, Ambrose Curtis, Matt Proctor, Tim Bateman, James Lowe, Otere Black, Billy Guyton, Akira Ioane, Shane Christie, Reed Prinzep, Tom Franklin, Leighton Price, Ben May, Ash Dixon (capt), Kane Hames. Reserves: Leni Apisai, Chris Eves, Marcel Renata, Whetu Douglas, Kara Pryor, Brad Weber, Ihaia West, Jason Emery.

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