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Maori All Blacks name touring rugby squad to face Canada in Vancouver

TORONTO — The Maori All Blacks have named 10 new caps in their squad to face Canada in Vancouver next month.

Hawke's Bay hooker Ash Dixon will captain the storied invitational rugby side.

The new faces include former Australian under-20 prop Tyrel Lomax, whose family includes a slew of rugby talent including former New Zealand rugby league international John Lomax.

The Maori All Blacks play Canada at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver on Nov. 3 before facing the French Barbarians in Bordeaux on Nov. 10.

The Maori game will mark Kingsley Jones' first as Canadian coach. The former Welsh international was named coach last month, replacing the fired Mark Anscombe.

Anscombe was dismissed as coach after Canada's disastrous 52-16 loss to the 17th-ranked U.S. Eagles on July 1 in San Diego. The two teams had tied 28-28 in Hamilton on June 24 in the opening leg of their World Cup qualifying series.

Canada, ranked 24th in the world, is gearing up for another World Cup qualifying series in January against No. 18 Uruguay.

Following the Maori match, Canada will head to Europe for November tests against No. 12 Georgia, No. 19 Spain and No. 9 Fiji.

While the All Blacks have named a separate 37-man roster for their November tests in Europe, the Maori touring squad has some All Black ties.

Charlie Ngatai and Brad Weber have won one cap each for the senior side while Tom Franklin and Akira Ioane have trained with the team.

The last game for the Maori was a 32-10 loss in June to the British & Irish Lions at Rotorua, New Zealand. Dixon, Ngatai, Ioane and Franklin all played in that game.

"We definitely learned a few lessons there," said Dixon. "It'll be good to right a few wrongs this tour. And we've got some new blood coming in."

In 2013, the Maori beat Canada 40-15 in Toronto. In 2012, they prevailed 32-19 over the Canadians in Oxford, England. At the 2007 Churchill Cup, the Maori thumped Canada 59-23.

Clayton McMillan is the new Maori coach, having taken over from Colin Cooper.


Maori All Blacks (x- denotes new cap)

Chris Eves, North Harbour; x-Ross Wright, Northland; Marcel Renata, Auckland; x-Tyrel Lomax, Tasman; Ash Dixon (capt.), Hawke's Bay; x-Liam Polwart, Bay of Plenty; Tom Franklin, Bay of Plenty; x-Jackson Hemopo, Manawatu; Jarrad Hoeata, North Harbour; x-Te Keepatakatakaaorangi (Keepa) Mewett, Bay of Plenty; Dan Pryor, Northland; x-Sam Henwood, Counties Manukau; Akira Ioane, Auckland; x-Jordan Manihera, Waikato; Brad Weber, Hawke's Bay; Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Taranaki; x-Jonathan Ruru, Otago; Ihaia West, Hawke's Bay; x-Jackson Garden-Bachop, Wellington; Tim Bateman, Canterbury; Rob Thompson, Canterbury; x-Teihorangi Walden, Otago; Sean Wainui, Taranaki; Charlie Ngatai, Taranaki; Ambrose Curtis, Manawatu

(Two players to be named later this week).

Players unavailable due to injury: Otere Black, Namatahi Waa, Ben May, Matt Proctor, Jacob Skeen, Kara Pryor, Leighton Price, Elliot Dixon, Bryn Hall.


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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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