You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Test faces have Maori All Blacks buzzing

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/11/2016

The injection of four All Blacks squad members has got their Maori counterparts humming ahead of a tour-opening clash with the United States in Chicago.

Captain Ash Dixon says excitement levels in the Maori All Blacks were already high heading into Friday's (Saturday NZT) match but went to another level when the starting team was unveiled.

The All Blacks released capped trio Damian McKenzie, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Elliot Dixon for the match at Toyota Park, along with uncapped winger Rieko Ioane.

"They've been awesome. When they came in they lifted the intensity and accuracy of the group - just who they are," Dixon said.

"The boys rubbing shoulders with them reminds them there's another level to get above and there's something to aim for."

US coach and former All Blacks mentor John Mitchell described the Maori All Blacks as world rugby's strongest non-Test team.

His team features two players who plied their trade in New Zealand domestic rugby.

Flanker Tony Lamborn played for Hawke's Bay in the NPC while prop Chris Baumann played for Wellington.

The Maori All Blacks play two more matches next week, against European club teams Munster and Harlequins.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon