Six All Blacks in Maori side
Auckland - Six discarded All Blacks have been selected for the New Zealand Maori side named Sunday to play Ireland and England next month.
The 26-man squad, to be coached by former All Blacks forward Jamie Joseph, includes two players who have yet to break into rugby at Super 14 level and four who played Super 14 for the first time this year.
Experience comes from hooker Corey Flynn, wing Hosea Gear, loose forwards Liam Messam and Tanerau Latimer, lock Isaac Ross and midfield back Luke McAlister, who all have All Blacks pedigree.
The team will be led by Messam, who was co-captain when the New Zealand Maori won the Pacific Nations Cup in 2008.
This year marks the centenary of the New Zealand Maori rugby team and Joseph described the squad as an "exciting mix" capable of continuing the side's reputation for running rugby.
"We are lucky to have a lot of experience in the team and they will ensure that those new players are quickly brought up to speed," he said.
"They will be challenging games and will give players the chance to really make their mark and play the style of rugby the New Zealand Maori side is famous for."
New Zealand Maoris: -
Backs: Stephen Brett (Canterbury), Hosea Gear (Wellington), Jarrad Hoeata (Taranaki), Sean Maitland (Canterbury), Luke McAlister (North Harbour), Willie Ripia (Taranaki), Robbie Robinson (Southland), Aaron Smith (Manawatu), Chris Smylie (North Harbour), Dwayne Sweeney (Waikato), Andre Taylor (Manawatu), Jackson Willison (Waikato).
Forwards: Ben Afeaki (North Harbour), Colin Bourke (Bay of Plenty), Dane Coles (Wellington), Jacob Ellison (Wellington), Corey Flynn (Canterbury), Romana Graham (Waikato), Tanerau Latimer (Bay of Plenty), Karl Lowe (Hawke's Bay), Liam Messam (Waikato, captain), Bronson Murray (Northland), Clint Newland (Hawke's Bay), Daniel Ramsey (Wellington), Isaac Ross (Canterbury), Hayden Triggs (Otago).
June 12 - NZ Maori v NZ Barbarians, Whangarei
June 18 - NZ Maori v Ireland, Rotorua
June 23 - NZ Maori v England, Napier