Maori All Blacks cap 10 new players

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Lynn McConnell     24 Oct 2017     Getty Images

Speaking after the team was announced in Auckland on Sunday, Dixon said that after the British & Irish Lions experience earlier in the year it would be exciting to see the new talent grow and to see where they could take the team.
While he was battling away as hooker up front with Hawke's Bay through the Mitre 10 Cup competition he had seen some of the new players in action for their respective sides and it was exciting to see some of the abilities they possessed.

"It's my job these next couple of weeks to make sure we are doing what we can and we make sure they can grow and learn and by the end of this tour they can become better people and better players," he said.

Canada and France offered something a little different to what the team usually experienced and that was appealing.

They play Canada in Vancouver on Friday, November 3 and a week later play the French Barbarians in Bordeaux.

"Canada will be interesting, it's pretty cold there at the moment but it will be cool to go there and experience the way they do things and also going down the south of France will be pretty cool. We will be playing two pretty staunch teams.

"It will be pretty tough for us with the time constraints so we've got to make sure that what we do these next couple of weeks is quality and look to perform really well as a team," he said.

Dixon acknowledged new coach Clayton McMillan's view that the Maori had been beaten by the physicality of the British & Irish Lions when they played earlier in the year.

"We did battle in that area and I guess we didn't think they were going to be as good as they were. They were a quality side that night and our tactics probably weren't the best in those [wet] conditions.

"We have to be physical when we go on tours like this against the French and Canadian sides. That's the challenge he's laid on us so we've got to look to sort that out and have a good crack," he said.

The tour wouldn't be just about rugby. It was about people and what they did off the field as a team and trying to gel as a group, he said.