National | Māori All Blacks

NZ Babas optimistic heading into Māori ABs clash

It has been five years since the New Zealand Barbarians and the Māori All Blacks played each other.

Tomorrow though, the two teams will go head-to-head again.  The Māori All Blacks are looking for their 20th win on the trot but the NZ Babas have their own ambitions, including a win tomorrow night.

Despite the limited time together, the Barbarians are confident and ready.

Captain of the NZ Babas, Brad Shields says, “Everyone has played rugby, so as long as we have a basic structure on the field we shouldn't have any problems.”

Although a little apprehensive about facing the Māori All Blacks haka for the first time without reply.

Shields says, “It will be different but as I said, it's trying to knock that emotion on the head and in the first 20 and try and nullify that. It’s going to be rough, it’s going to be tough, but it will be a spectacle out there.”

The NZ Babas team has a rich history in New Zealand and has traditionally been a stepping stone for players into the black jersey.

This game is another opportunity for the players to put their hand up for an All Blacks selection in this very competitive rugby world cup year.

Shields says, “Guys will put their best foot forward and play some Babas footy, maybe throw the ball around a bit and get some points on the board.”

While the Babas have higher honours on the agenda, the Māori All Blacks are wanting to firstly protect their winning record and do their team mates and families proud.

Charlie Ngatai says, “There's going to be a lot of feeling in the game, especially for our team playing back here for the first time in a few years.  There's always going to be a lot of emotion in that and basically playing mates in the Barbarians team.”

With an extra game under their belt, the Māori All Blacks will come into this game better prepared.

"We'll be a lot more prepared this time round. It was a bit rushed last week in Fiji.  I know I flew in on Thursday night and my only run around was on Friday,” says Ngatai.

Just like last week and the games before that, the Māori All Blacks will rise to the challenge head on.