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Ripia gets nod for Maori All Blacks tour

Date
Willie Ripia left the Force under a cloud before the start of the 2012 Super Rugby season.

Willie Ripia left the Force under a cloud before the start of the 2012 Super Rugby season. Photo: Getty Images

WELLINGTON: Problem gambler Willie Ripia has been named in the Maori All Blacks for their short UK tour 10 months after quitting the Western Force amid theft allegations.

The 27-year-old former Hurricanes and NZ Maori rep is the sole out-and-out five-eighth in the squad who will play Leicester, an RFU Championship 15 and Canada next month.

Ripia, who has undergone counselling for gambling addiction, quit the Force in January after reportedly being caught on security camera footage taking money from players' wallets and bags at the team's Perth headquarters.

He returned home to Rotorua and has played for the Bay of Plenty development team.

Coach Jamie Joseph said Ripia's selection for the tour would be an important step in his battle against the addiction.

"He's had some troubles but part of this team is about promoting our people, promoting our players," Joseph told Radio Sport.

Joseph, who was at the helm of the last NZ Maori campaign (now Maori All Blacks) in 2010 which featured Ripia, handed Chiefs stalwart Tanerau Latimer the captaincy of the 26-strong squad.

"We have selected Tanerau as captain for his perfect mix of talent and leadership on and off the field," Joseph said.

"We are very excited about this tour to England as the program offers an excellent opportunity to display the depth of talent we have."

The side also features Hika Elliot who lost out to Dane Coles for the third hooking spot on the All Blacks' European tour and lock Jarrad Hoeata who played three times for the All Blacks last year, but missed out on the World Cup squad.

New Zealand Maori tour squad:

Backs: Trent Renata, Andre Taylor, Kurt Baker, Kade Poki, Declan O'Donnell, Charlie Ngatai, Jackson Willison, Tim Batemen, Willie Ripia, Jamiston Gibson-Park, Frae Wilson

Forwards: Elliot Dixon, Tanerau Latimer, Karl Lowe, Shane Christie, Nick Crosswell, Jarrad Hoeata, Jason Eaton, Romano Graham, Ross Filipo, Ben May, Bronson Murray, Ben Afeaki, Jacob Ellison, Hika Elliot, Quentin MacDonald.

AAP

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
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Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
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Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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Round 4
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RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
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Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
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ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
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Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
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