NZ Maori v Ireland, Rotorua, June 18
Maori make five changes for Ireland
June 16, 2010
New Zealand Maori skipper Liam Messam checks for support, New Zealand Maori v New Zealand Barbarians, Toll Stadium, Whangarei, June 12, 2010
Liam Messam switches to blindside for the Maori © Getty Images

New Zealand Maori coach Jamie Joseph has made five changes to his side to face Ireland in Rotorua on Friday as they look for a second win of their centenary series.

The Maori kicked off their season with a narrow win over the New Zealand Barbarians last weekend and have bolstered their ranks as they look to complete a miserable fortnight for Ireland following their 66-28 demolition at the hands of the All Blacks.

Up front, prop Ben Afeaki replaces Clint Newland while in the second-row Isaac Ross makes way for Hayden Triggs and Daniel Ramsay drops out in favour of Jarrad Hoeata. Hoeata's blindside spot is filled by skipper Liam Messam with Chiefs No.8 Colin Bourke coming into the starting lineup.

In the backs, Dwayne Sweeney starts in midfield in place of Jackson Willison, who drops to the bench, while Aaron Smith gets his chance at scrum-half in place of the injured Chris Smylie. Joseph said some hard work and planning had been needed since the close defeat of the Barbarians.

"[That] was definitely a good test for us and we came out of that game with areas we know we need to work on and that has been our focus this week," he said. "There is a great buzz around Rotorua at the moment and the team knows the whole town is behind them. The fact that we are about to play in the same place as the first ever game played by the New Zealand Maori Rugby team 100 years ago, is very special."

NZ Maori: R Robinson (Southland); S Maitland (Canterbury), D Sweeney (Waikato), L McAlister (North Harbour), H Gear (Wellington); S Brett (Canterbury), A Smith (Manawatu); B Murray (Northland), C Flynn (Canterbury), B Afeaki (North Harbour), H Triggs (Otago), J Hoeata (Taranaki), L Messam (Waikato, capt), T Latimer (Bay of Plenty), C Bourke (Bay of Plenty)

Replacements: Dane Coles (Wellington) Clint Newland (Hawke's Bay) Romana Graham (Waikato) Karl Lowe (Hawke's Bay) Ruki Tipuna (Wellington) Willie Ripia (Taranaki) Jackson Willison (Waikato)


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