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Expect action when Māori and Fijian under-20 teams meet Rotorua

Monday, July 15, 2019
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Whare Clarke

Caption: Horohopu facilitator Wharekahika Clarke is looking forward to teaching tamariki how to play a traditional Maori game.

The New Zealand Maori Under-20’s manager is predicting a real ‘Fiji styles’ of play when his side play the curtain raiser to the Maori All Blacks game in Rotorua next weekend.

Mark Seymour says his team will go into camp on Sunday in preparation for their game against the Fijian Under-20 side on July 20, at the Rotorua International Stadium.

Seymour predicts the Fijian Under-20s will bring the same high intensity style of play just like their senior team.

“Fiji styles, they are just going to give it a crack. They’re very, very athletic, very sevens style, where everyone will be like a behemoth running with the ball. So, we’re expecting a very expansive game.

“Alongside that, they will have a good bunch of forwards that are pretty capable. So, I anticipate a massive challenge and we will have to get things pretty well right. In order to come away with respectability and a win.”

The team has five Bay of Plenty players in the squad of 22 and he believes the team have the capability to come away with a positive outcome.

“Rugby is a simple game, against a team with flare like that, you’ve got to shut them down. A good way of doing that is keeping the ball close and take the opportunities as they present.”

Seymour says one of the team’s biggest weapons will be the home crowd and he is hoping local rugby fans will get in behind the team.

“It’s massive to get that vocal support, because we know what our Pacific brothers and sisters are like to come and support their team. They’re very vocal and it would be nice to have whanau along to help counteract that.”

The New Zealand Maori Under-18 Wahine and Tane Development Camp is also being held in Rotorua from July 18-21, to coincide with the Maori All Blacks fixture.

The two squads will be holding a whanau day at Westbrook Fields, on July 20, from 9am-10am, then women’s team will have an exhibition match at 11.30am, followed by the men’s team at 1pm.

The camp is one of a number of different events happening around the city, planned to run the week before the Maori All Blacks’ game.

Another event is the Horohopu ‘Give it a go Day’ being held at the Southern Trust Sportsdrome on Friday, July 19 from 9am-1pm.
The event is free to children who register on the Ahurei Pasifika Facebook page.

Rotorua local and Horohopu facilitator, Wharekahika Clarke says the Rotorua Fire Service and some of the Maori All Blacks were planning on coming to visit the youngsters taking part in the event.

Horohopu, is a traditional Maori game for the whole family to take part in. The concept of the game is to throw and catch a poi toa from one player to another advancing up the field of play to score points.

To register to take part in this event click here.

Tickets for the Maori All Blacks vs Fiji game are available on allblacks.com.

For more information about all the different events happening in Rotorua click here. For the Ahurei Pasifika Celebration click here.

Maori Under-20 squad:

Kershawl Sykes-Martin, Te Ariki Te Puni, Jonas Pomare, Poukohe Sorensen, Tyrone Thompson, Tanara Haenga, Josh Hill, Leo Ngatai-Tafau, Keelan Whitman, Cortez-Lee Ratima, Leo Thompson, Shamus Hurley-Langton, Samuel Smith, Coel Kerr, John Croft Cooper, Kaipo Brown, Tamarau McGahan, Tobias Wickham-Manuel, Tahu Kaa, Zarn Sullivan, Isaac Bracewell, Callum Bean, Dennon Robinson-Bartlett, Bailey Gordon.

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