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Through the Portal

The greatest of all time? – The Forwards

The recent death of Sid Going inspired me to have a go at picking the best Māori Rugby team of all time. In last week’s edition of The Informer, I released my picks for the back line but now it is time to have a go at the forwards.
 |  Trevor Ammundsen  | 

Zinzan Brooke.

Number 8 – There have been some magnificent Number 8s in Māori rugby with possibly the most skilful being Zinzan Brooke. In making my selection, I felt the need to pick a team captain, a person the whole team would follow. This does of course lead me to pick Buck, now Sir Wayne Shelford (1982 to 1990). Buck had to be the toughest player you ever saw. Tales of having his scrotum repaired in the middle of a test match and so on testify to this. He was an unbeaten All Black captain, not losing a game in 27 tests as leader, so he is my pick as captain for this squad.

Blindside Flanker – Known as “The Black Panther” during his playing days, Waka Nathan would be my standout pick for this position. He was a fast, uncompromising loose forward who had opposition backs nervously looking over their shoulder. He went on to coach the Māori All Black team in the eighties.

Openside Flanker – Not a lot of standout performers in this position, with possibly the best being Daniel Braid. However, they all miss out to the need to also have Zinzan Brooke in the team. He was quite capable of playing on the Openside and would have made a fearful loose forward trio with Buck and Waka.

Locks – Those that are older than I may refer back to Tiny Hill but he was before my time so misses out. My picks are Robin Brooke (1990 to 1995) and Troy Flavell (1998 to 2003), both of whom were athletic and uncompromising.

Props – No team is going to do too well if it doesn’t have a strong front row, so in this area my picks would ensure that the pack never took a backward step. Both Tighthead Prop Carl Hayman (2002 to 2005) and Loose Head Prop Joe Moody (2015,) have been considered to be the best in the world at their positions at some stage. I doubt if any other front row would get the better of them.

Hooker – My selection was possibly not the tightest of Hookers, but he was dynamic in the loose scoring of a number of famous tries against the opposition such as Australia and Wales. Hika Reid (1980 to 1988), known fondly as Hika the Hooker, was a popular and entertaining player who would not let the front row down.

I may have set myself up to be shot down, but I believe this would be a great team. All of them made the full All Black team and some would be considered true greats of the game. As a team, they would be very difficult to beat.

Feel free to write in with how you would amend my team but keep to players who have actually played for the Māori All Blacks. Fast Fijian Wingers don’t count.