Maori All Blacks change three for Harlequins

Date published: November 15 2016

Maori All Blacks head coach Colin Cooper has made three changes to his starting XV for their tour closing match against Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop on Wednesday.

Whetu Douglas will start at blindside flank, Sean Wainui gets a run on the wing, moving James Lowe to full-back.

The Maori All Blacks are looking to end their tour on a high note after their 27-14 loss to Munster in front of a sold-out Limerick crowd at the weekend.

“We’ve gone for the most experienced team we can just because of the way the game is played over here. We’ve had to re-programme to adjust from playing the style of rugby we play back home to better adjust to the way they play rugby up here. It’s been a good learning for the players and for us as coaches. We turned up in Munster on the back of a win in the US, and we weren’t ready for the style of rugby, particularly given the conditions, we faced in Munster.”

Cooper reflected on the tour and said the learnings would be important as they build toward the Maori All Blacks fixture against the British and Irish Lions next year.

“Knowing that the Lions will probably play a similar style, it has been a good learning curve for us, and given us a good focus for our training this week,” he added.

“These guys here have a great opportunity to be part of the Lions, but again, players in Super Rugby in 2017 will have a great opportunity to play for a spot in the team, so that will be exciting to watch.”

Maori All Blacks: 15 James Lowe, 14 Ambrose Curtis, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Whetu Douglas, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Leighton Price, 3 Ben May, 2 Ash Dixon (c), 1 Kane Hames
Replacements: 16 Joe Royal, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Jacob Skeen, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Otere Black, 23 Jason Emery/Marty McKenzie

Date: Wednesday, November 16
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: tbc
Assistant Referees: tbc