Ireland clinched a deserved 30-24 victory against the Maori All Blacks in Tuesday’s July international in Wellington.
After suffering a 32-17 defeat in the first encounter of their two-match series against the New Zealand indigenous team, this was a much improved performance from Ireland’s midweek outfit.
Both sides scored four tries apiece with Jordan Larmour leading the way for Ireland with a brace while Nick Timoney and Gavin Coombes also crossed the whitewash and Ciaran Frawley added 10 points courtesy of two conversions and as many penalties.
The Maori All Blacks‘ points came via a penalty try and further five-pointers from Shaun Stevenson, Ruben Love and Brad Weber, while Josh Ioane added a conversion.
The Maori were fastest out of the blocks and just two minutes after kick-off their backs created space, after a lineout inside Ireland’s 22, before Stevenson ran onto a pass from Ioane and crossed for the opening try.
Five minutes later, Ireland caught the Maori napping when Keith Earls took a quick throw-in at a lineout just inside the home side’s half. He found Larmour, who raced away before dotting down under the posts.
Frawley added the extras and with the visitors holding a two-point lead they became more confident in their approach as they took the fight to their opponents.
The next 20 minutes was an arm wrestle as both sides tried to gain the ascendancy and it was the visitors who would ultimately do that as they finished the half as the stronger of the two sides.
In the 25th minute, Frawley extended Ireland’s lead when he slotted a penalty after Kurt Eklund infringed at a ruck. The visitors suffered a setback two minutes later, however, when Cian Prendergast was yellow carded for tackling Isaia Walker-Leawere without retreating 10 metres when the hosts played quickly after being awarded a penalty just outside Ireland’s 22.
However, in the 32nd minute the Maori were also reduced to 14 men when Ollie Norris received a yellow card for a cynical defensive foul close to his try-line. Ireland set up a lineout maul from the resulting penalty and after a couple of strong drives, Timoney powered his way over the whitewash from close quarters. Frawley slotted the conversion to give Ireland a 17-5 half-time lead.
The second half started brightly for Ireland when, soon after the restart, Frawley added his second penalty after Walker-Leawere was blown up for taking out Timoney illegally at a ruck.
Five minutes later, the hosts reduced the deficit courtesy of their penalty try after Alex Nankivell was tackled without the ball close to Ireland’s try-line. Larmour was the guilty party and he was also sent to the sin bin for his indiscretion.
Despite that setback, the Irish did well not to concede points while Larmour was off the field. Ireland eventually extended their lead in the 67th minute when Coombes burrowed his way over the try-line from close quarters and although Frawley was off target with the conversion attempt, the visitors had their tails up with the score 25-12 in their favour.
The Maori needed a response and that came in the 69th minute when Love crossed for his try after trading passes with Cullen Grace, but they suffered a blow soon after when Stevenson was also yellow carded for deliberately knocking down a Joey Carbery pass just inside Ireland’s half.
Ireland secured the result when Larmour went over for his second try in the 77th minute – after good work from Stuart McCloskey in the build-up – before Weber scored a consolation try for the home side in the game’s dying moments.
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The article July internationals: Ireland bounce back with deserved win over Maori All Blacks appeared first on Planetrugby.com.