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Played in New Zealand for the first time, the 2023 All Stars match was an exciting and great spectacle all the way to the final whistle.

Silky skills and great team efforts from both sides set up a seesawing contest with both teams enjoying mini breaks only for the lead to be pegged back each time. In the end and somewhat fittingly, nothing could separate the two teams with the match ending in a 10-10 draw.

Tiwi Davies and Jarrad Rotumah shined for their respective teams and late back-to-back tries to Sharni Vilila got the Māori team back in the game and looking like they’ll achieve a famous come from behind victory in front of a vocal Rotorua crowd. However, a late Andi Law try with seconds remaining sealed the games' fate, in what will be long remembered as a classic matchup.

Early nerves and skill errors had both teams struggling to complete sets early in the match which saw the Māori side cross the line first through Te Ao Mihi Paul.

As the first half progressed the Indigenous All Stars found their stride and after some strong runs and a quick scoot from Taimana Elers, Jarrad Rotumah got over the line for the Indigenous All Stars first try.

The Indigenous side showed quick play the balls and solid drives which got them to the line with Jardel Bob beating the Māori line with some fancy footwork to bring the Indigenous team to a 2-1 lead.

The Māori All Stars hit back quickly creating an overlap and getting a long ball to Te Ao Mihi Paul, who made it 2 tries for her for the game. The Indigenous All Stars showed their speed and hit right back through Shameus Edwards who got over to bring it back to 3-2.

The Indigenous team had the Māori All Stars on the back foot and a sensational round the back of the defender pass from Shameus Edwards got debutante Taimana Elers in for his first try of the game.

Marama Thomas provided the support for a Māori dummy half scoot to bring the score back to 3-4 to the Indigenous at half time.

Off the first set of the second half Jarrad Rotumah and Jardel Bob linked up to put another try on the board early for the Indigenous All Stars.

The second set for the Indigenous All Stars also saw them score through quick hands through to Andi Law pushing the score out 6-3 for the Indigenous All Stars who were seemingly running away with the match.

However, the Māori All Stars weren’t done yet and led by beautiful passing from Tiwi Davies and Te Ao Mihi Paul got the Māori side over for their first try of the second half which sparked the team.

The Māori All Stars then drove the ball hard to get back to their end and Takoha Ropati finished it off for the Māori side.

The Indigenous hit back straight away with Shameus Edwards continuing his outstanding performance getting low under the Māori defence for his second try of the game.

A juggling full length of the field Intercept from Floyd Tighe in the next set had the Indigenous side back out to an 8-5 lead.

Once again though the Māori All Stars dug deep with Raiki Willison throwing a beautiful dummy in the Māori set to get himself over for his first and a crucial team try.

A brilliant bat on pass from Jardel Bob to Keely Silva on the wing saw the Indigenous side hit back for a 9-6 lead.

However almost to script at this stage, Mererangi Paul finished off a good play from the Maori All Stars to keep the game alive.

Terrific team play from the Māori All Stars team got Sharni Vilila over on the wing to shut the gap down further to 8-9 with minutes to play.

A good set from the Māori’s saw them attacking their line again and for the second time in 60 seconds Eifion Jones set up Sharni Vilila for back-to-back tries to bring the score to 9 all.

The Māori side caught the Indigenous team offside from the restart and Shane Frederiksen Medallist Takoha Ropati took advantage to score to put the Māori All Stars in the lead.

In a last desperate set in the dying seconds of the game a big left to right ball from the Indigenous captain Jarrad Rotumah to Andi Law saw the Indigenous side level the scoreboard to 10 all.

As the final seconds ticked down the Māori team had one last set to claim a famous victory although the Indigenous team’s defence stood firm again with the match ending in a dramatic draw.

With the event being a celebration of the oldest and youngest living cultures, it was somewhat fitting that the two teams could not be separated on the field. 

Game Day 23 Min

Final Score

Indigenous All Stars 10 v Māori All Stars 10

Try Scorers

Indigenous All Stars      

Māori All Stars

  • Shameus Edwards – 2
  • Jardel Bob – 2
  • Andi Law – 2
  • Taimana Elers – 1
  • Jarrad Rotumah – 1
  • Floyd Tighe – 1
  • Keely Silva – 1
  • Takoha Ropati – 2
  • Sharni Vilila – 2
  • Te Ao Mihi Paul – 2
  • Tiwi Davies – 1
  • Raiki Willison – 1
  • Marama Thomas – 1
  • Mererangi Paul – 1


Shane Frederiksen Medallist – Takoha Ropati (Māori All Stars)

Bo de la Cruz Medallist – Rebecca Mi Mi (Indigenous All Stars)


Head-to-Head Result: Māori 2, Indigenous 1, Draw 1

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