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Maori All Blacks To ‘shutdown Fiji’s offloads’

His replacement Pourie Rakete-Stones Jnr and halfback Jonathan Ruru have been training hard with the team this week hoping to make the 23-member squad.
18 Jul 2019 14:21
Maori All Blacks To ‘shutdown Fiji’s offloads’
Jonathan Ruru (LEFT) and Pourie Rakete- Stones

The man who was brought in to replace Hurricanes prop Ben May is determined to make the Maori All Blacks squad in the return clash against the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians at the Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

May had withdrawn from last Saturday’s first Test in Suva due to a calf injury.

His replacement Pourie Rakete-Stones Jnr and halfback Jonathan Ruru have been training hard with the team this week hoping to make the 23-member squad.

“We just have to keep training hard and take whatever opportunities come our way,” Rakete-Stones said.

Ruru is the third-string halfback behind Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi of the Chiefs and Bryn Hall of the Crusaders.

A 2017 world champion New Zealand Under-20 player, Rakete-Stones told his relatives last week he will dedicate any minutes he gets with the Maori team, if selected, to his late grandmother Heeni Rakete who died last month.

“I’m really enjoying training with all the Super boys in this squad. Everyone is ready to redeem themselves and I know the boys will front up pretty hard on Saturday night,” Rakete-Stones added.

“If I get to take the field it would mean a lot … it would be a dream come true.”

He agreed the Fijians were outstanding in Suva.

“They played the way they like to play and had 30 offloads. We’re going to have to shut that down this weekend.”

Dixon and newly contracted Magpies lock Isaia Walker-Leawere were both in the starting XV last Saturday. Both are likely to be in Saturday night’s 23.

After the weekend’s loss Dixon promised the team’s defensive lapses would be addressed.

Fiji’s promising fullback Alifereti Veitokani, talented first five-eighth Ben Volavola, classy centre Waisea Nayacalevu and powerful No 8 Vili Mata were given too much freedom in Suva.

Edited by  Grace Narayan

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