Maori All Blacks v Ireland: All You Need To Know

Maori All Blacks v Ireland: All You Need To Know

With a new captain and a rejigged back-line, Ireland begin the last week of their summer tour in New Zealand's capital city where the Māori All Blacks will provide stiff opposition again.

2022 SUMMER TOUR: Tuesday, July 12

MĀORI ALL BLACKS v IRELAND, Sky Stadium, Wellington, 7.05pm local time/8.05am Irish time (live Sky Sports Action/IRFU Live Blog)

Team News: Keith Earls captains Ireland for the second and final uncapped midweek match of the tour, as Andy Farrell's men seek to square the series against the Māori All Blacks having lost the first fixture in Hamilton.

Ciaran Frawley and Craig Casey are retained at half-back, Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey, who is back in green for the first time since the July 2021 win over the USA, comes in to partner Earls in midfield.

Belfast youngster Michael Lowry is introduced at full-back, with Jimmy O'Brien shifting to the left wing and Jordan Larmour continuing on the right.

Niall Scannell's inclusion at hooker is the third and final personnel change. Jeremy Loughman and Tom O'Toole complete the front row, backed up by Joe McCarthy and Kieran Treadwell in the engine room.

Munster's Gavin Coombes, one of Ireland's try scorers from the first Māori clash, packs down at number 8 in a retained back row combination that also features Cian Prendergast and Nick Timoney.

The selected bench includes six players who got game-time in the historic win over New Zealand in Dunedin. Mack Hansen, a starter in the second Test, Conor Murray and Joey Carbery are the replacement backs.

The forward options are Rob Herring, Finlay Bealham, Ryan Baird and Jack Conan, along with Leinster prop Ed Byrne who linked up with the touring party as an injury call-up on July 2.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's game, which will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Action, head coach Farrell said: “Keith’s standing and status within the group are of the highest order so that’s an easy one. There’s no more deserving of a man to captain Ireland against the Māoris.

“It gave me a lot of pleasure asking him to do it. He’s a proud man and he’s really looking forward to it. Keith played in the first Māori game and then he backed up (for the first Test), which is tough to do in a Test match, and scored a try.

“He didn’t play in the second Test obviously but the likes of him, Jack Conan, everyone to be honest, Conor (Murray), etc., their attitude has been absolutely top class.

“There’s only been one thing on their minds and that’s how can they help the team-mates that are probably playing in front of them better.”

He added: “This, as we have been saying all along, is an opportunity to grow the group. A chance for the guys who have had to wait two weeks for another chance. Another opportunity to show us how much they have improved.

“When you put two or three kids into a good side, say the Test side, everyone gets dragged along but when you put a lot of inexperienced players together, then cohesion is very hard to come by.

“Look, they have had two weeks to learn those lessons, be more disciplined, and to make sure they understand what it takes to win a big game. This certainly is big for them.”

Meanwhile, Māori All Blacks boss Clayton McMillan has made six changes, including a start for scrum half and co-captain TJ Perenara at his home ground, the Hurricanes' Sky Stadium.

The hometown fans will be pleased to see nine Hurricanes in the matchday squad, while three other players have strong Wellington roots.

Josh Moorby makes his Māori debut at full-back, replacing Zarn Sullivan who impressed in the first game against Ireland. The latter's older brother, Bailyn, links up with Alex Nankivell in a new centre partnership.

Highlanders lock Manaaki Selby-Rickit and the Hurricanes' Reed Prinsep, who slots in at blindside flanker, are the only changes up front. Forwards Max Hicks and Caleb Delany are standing by to make their debuts off the bench.

The last time the Māori All Blacks played at the Wellington venue was in July 2021 in front of a Covid-19-restricted crowd. They beat Samoa 35-10 with a Shaun Stevenson brace the highlight.

MĀORI ALL BLACKS: Josh Moorby (Northland/Hurricanes/Ngāti Maniapoto); Shaun Stevenson (North Harbour/Chiefs/Ngāpuhi), Bailyn Sullivan (Waikato/Hurricanes/Ngāti Kahungunu), Alex Nankivell (Tasman/Chiefs/Ngāti Pikiao), Connor Garden-Bachop (Wellington/Highlanders/Ngāti Awa); Josh Ioane (Otago/Chiefs/Te Rārawa), TJ Perenara (Wellington/Hurricanes/Ngāti Rangitihi) (co-capt); Ollie Norris (Waikato/Chiefs/Ngāpuhi), Kurt Eklund (Bay of Plenty/Blues/Ngāti Kahu), Tyrel Lomax (Tasman/Hurricanes/Muaupoko/Ngāi Tūhoe), Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Bay of Plenty/Highlanders/Ngāti Raukawa/Ngāti Tūwharetoa), Isaia Walker-Leawere (Hawkes Bay/ Hurricanes/Ngāti Porou), Reed Prinsep (Canterbury/Hurricanes/Te Rārawa), Billy Harmon (Canterbury/Highlanders/Ngāi Tahu), Cullen Grace (Canterbury/Crusaders/Ngāti Whakaue/Ngāti Raukawa).

Replacements: Leni Apisai (Auckland/Ngāti Awa), Tamaiti Williams (Canterbury/Crusaders/Ngāpuhi), Marcel Renata (Auckland/Blues/Ngāti Whānaunga/Ngāi Takoto), Max Hicks (Tasman/Highlanders/Ngāti Ranginui/Ngāi te Rangi), Caleb Delany (Wellington/Hurricanes/Ngāti Tūwharetoa), Brad Weber (Hawke's Bay/Chiefs/Ngāti Porou) ( (co-capt), Ruben Love (Wellington/Hurricanes/Te Atiawa), Billy Proctor (Wellington/Hurricanes/Ngāi Te Rangi/Ngāpuhi).

IRELAND: Michael Lowry (Banbridge/Ulster); Jordan Larmour (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) (capt), Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/Ulster), Jimmy O'Brien (Naas/Leinster); Ciaran Frawley (Skerries/Leinster), Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster); Jeremy Loughman (Garryowen/Munster), Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster), Tom O'Toole (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Joe McCarthy (Dublin University/Leinster), Kieran Treadwell (Ballymena/Ulster), Cian Prendergast (Connacht), Nick Timoney (Banbridge/Ulster), Gavin Coombes (Young Munster/Munster).

Replacements: Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Ed Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht), Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster), Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster), Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Munster), Mack Hansen (Connacht).

Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Assistant Referees: Christophe Ridley (England), Jordan Way (Australia)
Television Match Official: James Leckie (Australia)

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