Holah aims to impress All Blacks coach

Marty Holah will get one final chance to impress the All Blacks selectors when the New Zealand Maoris meet the British & Irish Lions on Saturday. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Marty Holah will get one final chance to impress the All Blacks selectors when the New Zealand Maoris meet the British & Irish Lions on Saturday.

As Maori coach Matt Te Pou had first call on eligible players, the openside flanker was one of those who were not involved in the All Blacks trial and were not considered for selection for New Zealand’s match against Fiji on Friday.

Instead Holah, full-back Leon MacDonald, wing Rico Gear, loose forward Jono Gibbes, prop Carl Hayman and hooker Corey Flynn have the opportunity on Saturday to push their claims for a place in the All Blacks 26-man squad to face the Lions.

That squad will be announced on Sunday by coach Graham Henry but Holah’s focus remains firmly on Saturday’s match in front of his home crowd in Hamilton.

"The All Blacks coaches will be looking at it and if I want to be involved in the Lions series then I can show the benefit of being on the field against them," he said. "I’m not dwelling on it though.

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"It’s just another game of rugby really. I’ll just go out and approach it in the same way I’ve approached every other game this year and work on the areas of my game that I need to improve and the areas that I enjoy and find I’m most suited to."

Te Pou’s team is arguably the strongest Maori side selected in recent years with nine of the starting XV current or former All Blacks.

Holah believes the chance to bag a first Maori win against the tourists is there for the taking.

"It’s a great opportunity," Holah added. "It’s just as good an opportunity that any other Maori team has had to win against the Lions.

"But you’re only as good as you are on the day really. If you’re going to put up a good performance and show a huge amount of will and want to win the game then that’s going to count in your favour.

"If you turn up half-hearted you’re never going to win are you.

"[To win] would be pretty huge I think. Previously the Maori have done really well at the start of a game and probably put themselves in a position where they should have won.

"The Lions have pulled away at the end of each game and sealed the win from there.

"If we could get up there and get a win, for New Zealand rugby it would be huge and maybe do a little bit more for Maori rugby in the future which would be pretty awesome as well."

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