Bundee Aki: Experienced centre to captain Ireland against Maori All Blacks

Date published: June 28 2022 - David Skippers

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has named his side that will face the Māori All Blacks in the opening match of their tour of New Zealand, with experienced centre Bundee Aki appointed as captain.

It will be the first time since 2010 that these teams face each other and Aki returns to Hamilton, the city where he won a Super Rugby title with his former team, the Chiefs, in 2013.

In Ireland‘s backline, Aki starts at inside centre with James Hume wearing the number 13 jersey, while Craig Casey and Ciaran Frawley form the half-back combination. The rest of the backline sees Jimmy O’Brien lining up at full-back with Jordan Larmour and Keith Earls the two wings.

In the forwards, Gavin Coombes starts at number eight while Nick Timoney and Cian Prendergast are the run-on flankers, while Kieran Treadwell and Joe McCarthy pack down in the second-row.

Up front, Dave Heffernan is the starting hooker and he is joined by Tom O’Toole and Jeremy Loughman, who are the two props.

Strong replacements bench

Niall Scannell, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Ryan Baird and Jack Conan are the replacement forwards while Conor Murray, Joey Carbery and Michael Lowry have been named as backline cover.

Ireland: 15 Jimmy O’Brien, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 James Hume, 12 Bundee Aki (c), 11 Keith Earls, 10 Ciaran Frawley, 9 Craig Casey, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 Nick Timoney, 6 Cian Prendergast, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Tom O’Toole, 2 Dave Heffernan, 1 Jeremy Loughman
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Ryan Baird, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Michael Lowry

Date: Wednesday, June 29
Venue: FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19:05 local (08:05 BST, 07:05 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: Jordan Way (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)

READ MORE: Maori All Blacks: Brad Weber and TJ Perenara named co-captains for Ireland clash