1 Jun 2006

Six debutants included in New Zealand Maori team for game against New South Wales

10:42 am on 1 June 2006

Six debutantes have been included in the New Zealand Maori team for Friday night's international against the New South Wales Waratahs in Sydney.

Callum Bruce, Cory Jane, Tanerau Latimer, Anthony Tahana, Corey Tamou and Pehi Te Whare are in the starting line-up, with three other new faces Matt Berquist, Liam Messam and Luke Mahoney in the reserves.

New Zealand Maori coach Donny Stevenson said the team was entering a new phase with a pool of young players coming through.

Stevenson says when making the selections, he and assistant coaches Jamie Joseph and Stu Forster were mindful that the likes of Shanon Paku and Paul Tito had been involved in the final stages of the Super 14 and they've included them in the reserves.

Halfback Chris Smylie has withdrawn from the match against New South Wales because he's getting married on Friday.

Waikato midfielder Richard Kahui has been called into the squad as a replacement for the injured Jason Kawau.

The Chiefs Jonno Gibbes will captain the side, which leaves for Sydney for this afternoon.