Hautapu Sports pair win selection to Maori All Blacks for Japan series

posted in: News, Rugby

Two Hautapu Sports players have been named in the Maori All Blacks squad to play two matches against a Japan XV.

Prop Ollie Norris (24) and lock Laghlan McWhannell (25) have been selected for the 28-player squad, with McWhannell making the Maori All Blacks for the first time.

Main photo: Ollie Norris (left) and Laghlan McWhannell.

After playing loosehead prop for Hautapu Sports, Norris made his name with the Chiefs, making his Super Rugby debut against the Crusaders in 2020.

Norris was a member of the wider New Zealand U-20 team in 2018 and was called up to travel to France for the closing match of the World Rugby U-20 Championship.

Born in Sydney, Norris went to St Peter’s, Cambridge, and was a member of their first XV that won the National Co-Ed title. He also previously represented New Zealand in the 2017 Barbarians Schools team.

In 2021, Norris was first named in the Māori All Blacks squad and made his debut against Manu Samoa on July 3, 2021.

Cambridge-born McWhannell is another player to emerge from St Peter’s, Cambridge, playing his club rugby for Hautapu.

In 2018, he won selection to the New Zealand U-20 team, and won selection for Waikato’s provincial rugby squad.

In 2019, McWhannell won the country’s top award for personal development awarded by the New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA).

The lock made his Chiefs debut in 2022 after injuries in 2020 and 2021 sidelined him. He joined the Auckland Blues in 2024.

New Zealand Māori Rugby Board chair Dame Farah Palmer said: “The Māori All Blacks serve a greater purpose than rugby. We want Māori to be successful as Māori and to pursue excellence. We are immensely proud and excited to support the players in this campaign.”

Maori All Blacks squad

*denotes new caps

Benet Kumeroa* (Te Atihaunui a Paparangi/Bay of Plenty/Hurricanes)
Joe Moody (Ngai Tahu/Canterbury/Crusaders)
Marcel Renata (Ngati Whanaunga, Ngai Takoto/Auckland/Blues)
Ollie Norris (Ngapuhi/Waikato/Chiefs)
Pouri Rakete-Stones (Ngapuhi/Hawke’s Bay/Hurricanes)

Kurt Eklund (Ngati Kahu/Bay of Plenty/Blues)
Tyrone Thompson (Ngati Kahungunu/Chiefs)

Isaia Walker-Leawere (Ngati Porou/Hawke’s Bay/Hurricanes)
Laghlan McWhannell* (Ngati Kahungunu/Waikato/Blues)
Max Hicks (Ngati Ranginui/Tasman/Highlanders)
Tahlor Cahill* (Ngapuhi/Canterbury/Crusaders)

Loose forwards
Billy Harmon (Ngai Tahu/Canterbury/Highlanders)
Cameron Suafoa (Ngapuhi/North Harbour/Blues)
Cullen Grace (Ngati Whakaue/Canterbury/Crusaders)
Nikora Broughton* (Nga Rauru, Ngati Ruanui/Bay of Plenty/Highlanders)
Te Kamaka Howden (Tuhoe/Manawatu/Hurricanes)

Half backs
Sam Nock (Ngapuhi/Northland/Blues)
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Ngati Rangitihi, Ngati Pikiao, Tuhourangi, Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Awa/Bay of Plenty/Chiefs)

First five-eighths
Rivez Reihana* (Ngai Tahu, Ngati Hine, Ngapuhi, Ngati Tuwharetoa/Northland/Crusaders)
Taha Kemara* (Te Whanau a Apanui, Te Whakatohea/Waikato/Crusaders)

Bailyn Sullivan (Ngati Kahungunu/Waikato/Hurricanes)
Corey Evans* (Te Aupouri, Ngati Kahu/Northland/Blues)
Daniel Rona* (Te Atiawa/Taranaki/Chiefs)
Rameka Poihipi (Ngati Whakaue/Canterbury/Chiefs)
Quinn Tupaea (Ngaati Tiipa, Ngaati Amaru, Waikato/Waikato/Chiefs)

Outside backs
Cole Forbes* (Ngati Awa/Bay of Plenty/Blues)
Josh Moorby (Ngati Maniapoto/Waikato/Hurricanes)
Tana Tuhakaraina* (Ngati Haua/Waikato/Chiefs)

Unavailable for selection due to injury:
Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Ngati Raukawa)
Shaun Stevenson (Ngapuhi)
Jared Profitt (Ngati Porou)


Game to be played on Saturday June 29, 2024

Maori All Blacks v Japan XV
Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium, Tokyo, 10pm (NZT)

Game to be played on Saturday July 6, 2024

Maori All Blacks v Japan XV
Toyota Stadium, Toyota, 9pm (NZT)

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