Maori All Blacks v Ireland

Maori All Blacks v Ireland Ireland’s trip to New Zealand […]

Maori All Blacks v Ireland

Ireland’s trip to New Zealand got off to a poor start in Hamilton as they were soundly defeated by a more incisive, astute Maori All Blacks team.

The hosts outclassed Ireland in a one-sided first half, scoring four tries to one for Ireland to establish a 22-point lead.

After the half, Ireland improved, and Gavin Coombes crossed, but it was too late to truly challenge the Maori lead.

Injuries sustained by Cian Healy and James Hume in the second half cost the visitors.

With his senior players generally rested on Wednesday, head coach Andy Farrell is set to pick an entirely new starting XV when the three-test series against New Zealand gets underway in Auckland on Saturday.
Even so, the midweek loss will be remembered as a huge opportunity lost for a team made up of players who had established themselves for their provinces during the season, and were expected to carry that success to the international stage.

Their task was against a Maori team, who offered an unmistakable reminder of the remaining depth of rugby talent in New Zealand, and it was definitely challenging according to Vwins’ story.
The majority of Ireland’s mostly inexperienced but incredibly talented playing group were hoping to make their mark on the international stage, but all of the fearless, eye-catching performances were given by those wearing black jerseys as the Maori played with an adventure and freedom that left Ireland reeling in a chastening first half that effectively ended their hopes of a win.
Blues’ fullback, Zarn Sullivan, was unstoppable and persistent pain in Ireland’s side in the air, in wide areas, and with his left boot, which he exploited to unleash a flawless 50:22 kick to give his team a six-meter line-out after 15 minutes.
The Maori promptly moved the ball off the set-piece, and when Sullivan was found again, his right-footed stride opened up enough space for the game’s first try.
On his return to Hamilton, where he won the 2013 Super Rugby championship with the Chiefs, Ireland’s captain Bundee Aki provided a little relief when he used a superb strike play to send the center through a gap and across the finish line.
That was great for the visitors, but the Maori quickly took control as Shaun Stevenson finished Josh Ioane’s brilliant break to put them back in charge.
Irish breakdown indiscipline continued unabated, as the hosts established up field position at will, leaving Ireland no time to set because of their lightning-fast ruck pace.
In the 35th minute, co-captain Brad Weber snuck over to increase the margin before Cullen Grace completed the try with the last action of the half, tapping down after Stevenson had jinked through the middle of a shattered field.
Whatever was said during the break elicited a response because Ireland returned with much more confidence, forcing their way into Maori territory and employing their phases to get their own fast ball.
With just 13 minutes left, there was little to indicate that it would be a dramatic finish. Still, Ireland can at least take hope from the second half, when they kept the Maori scoreless and finally pierced their defensive resistance with Coombes driving over from close range to narrow the deficit.