Brave Canada fall to Maori All Blacks

Getty Images     04 Nov 2013     Getty Images

Benefiting from some fine work in the loose where Luke Braid, Liam Squire and Elliott Dixon battled against some determined Canadian defensive play, the New Zealanders quelled the fires of the home team and forced them into errors.

Halfback Jamison Gibson-Park took his opportunity with an 80-minute, two-try effort when Piri Weepu was unable to start the game.

An early breakout down the left flank by centre Ciaran Hearn took play into the Maori All Blacks' 22m area. The ball was knocked on but Canada gained the ball and moved it right where Hearn fed wing Jeff Hassler in for a fifth minute try.

Canada launched back onto attack and rattled the New Zealanders, but they recovered the ball and moved it out of their 22m to launch a series of pick-and-goes at the line before quick hands provided space for left wing Zac Guildford to reply in the 10th minute.

Continuing to attack down the blindside of the scrum, the Maori All Blacks built on some set-up work by flanker Luke Braid, on two occasions, to get the ball wide. Guildford's attempted back-hand pass was knocked back by a Canadian hand and halfback Jamison Gibson-Park, who only came into the game due to Piri Weepu's late withdrawal, was on hand to pick up the bouncing ball to score.

Just before halftime some intensive efforts on attack were rewarded when fullback Robbie Robinson jinked his way through the home defence to score with Andre Taylor adding his second conversion.

Down 5-19 at half-time, Canada came out and made another strong start to bustle the tourists but a decision to kick for position resounded on the Canadians when New Zealand secured the ball. Guildford came in to tidy loose ball and he wove his way out of trouble and passed to Robinson on the flank. He raced into space and when confronted in-passed to Gibson-Park who scored his second try, in the 50th minute.

Canada enjoyed a profitable spell midway through the second half after first five-eighths Liam Underwood landed a penalty goal in the 55th minute.

That was followed by a strong mid-field run by Hassler, coming in from the short side, that carried play deep into the Maori All Blacks' 22m area. The Canadians won a lineout after the New Zealanders cleared the ball and launched a maul at the line. Captain Aaron Carpenter was driven across and Underwood's conversion reduced the margin to 11 points.

However, New Zealand upped their attacking ante and when Gibson-Park scythed through to be tackled just short of the line, a five-metre scrum was called and in the subsequent play, a simple miss out move with long pass to Robinson saw him feed replacement wing Matt Proctor in for a 68th minute try.

Prop Nick Barrett capitalised on some Canadian panic play in their own five-metre area to pick up a pass infield and drive along the sideline to touch down in the corner.


Canada 15 (Jeff Hassler, Aaron Carpenter tries; Liam Underwood con, pen) Maori All Blacks 40 (Zac Guildford, Jamison Gibson-Park 2, Robbie Robinson, Matt Proctor, Nick Barrett tries; Andre Taylor 2 con; Robinson 2 con; Ihaia West con). HT: 5-19