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NZ Maori Squad Announced

27 May 2002

Nine newcomers have been selected by New Zealand Maori coach Matt Te Pou in the 26-man squad named today for a four-match programme.

The team, which assembles in Auckland on Wednesday to begin preparations for the tour of Australia, will be led once again by Waikato and Chiefs captain Deon Muir.

It includes 12 players who featured for the New Zealand Maori during last year's epic struggle with Australia in Sydney when the home side won a nail biter 41-29.

Newcomers of note include promising Crusaders winger Joe Maddock, well-performed Highlanders' centre Ryan Nicholas and exciting Southland and Crusaders hooker Corey Flynn.

Another interesting selection is that of Blues and North Harbour midfielder Mark Mayerhofler who returns to the team for the first time since appearing against Scotland in 2000.

Mayerhofler subsequently played club rugby in France before coming home last year.

Hawke's Bay utility forward Reece Robinson, Southland lock Steve Jackson and Auckland lock Bryce Williams are the only non-Super 12 players selected although Robinson, last year's Air New Zealand NPC Second Division Player of the Year, has played for New Zealand Maori before.

He made his debut during last year's 43-24 win over Argentina at Rotorua.

"We're exceedingly fortunate to have great depth in Maori rugby and this programme is going to allow some of the younger players to take the next step up," Te Pou said.

"A lot of these players have been biding their time waiting for an opportunity to show us what they've got"

"Now is their time. We've been able to pull together an exciting squad and everyone is really looking forward to the tour and the game against the Barbarians at North Harbour when we return."

New Zealand Maori opens its programme against Queensland at Brisbane on June 4 before tackling New South Wales at Sydney on June 8.

Both games are daunting assignments, but Te Pou says top opposition was essential if the New Zealand Maori team was to have a thorough preparation for its matches against Australia in Perth on June 15 and the Barbarians at Albany on June 21.

The New Zealand Maori squad is: Carlos Spencer (Auckland), Bruce Reihana (Waikato), Joe Maddock* (Canterbury), Ryan Nicholas* (Otago), Rico Gear (North Harbour), Roger Randle (Waikato)), Mark Mayerhofler (North Harbour), Glen Jackson (Waikato), Willie Walker* (Otago), Riki Flutey* (Wellington), Brendan Haami (Taranaki), Rhys Duggan (Waikato), Deon Muir (captain, Waikato), Matua Parkinson (North Harbour), Blair Urlich (North Harbour), Jonno Gibbes* (Waikato), Kristian Ormsby (Counties Manukau), Bryce Williams* (Auckland), Reece Robinson (Hawke's Bay), Steve Jackson* (Southland), Carl Hayman* (Otago), Tony Penn* (Taranaki), Deacon Manu (Waikato), Greg Feek (Canterbury), Corey Flynn* (Southland), Slade McFarland (North Harbour).

Coach: Matt Te Pou
Assistant-coach: Don Stevenson
Manager: Peter Potaka

* denotes new player to the New Zealand Maori team

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