Maori All Blacks put seven tries past Canada

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Lynn McConnell     04 Nov 2017     Getty Images

While enjoying significant periods with ball in hand, Canada lacked the ability to prise open the Maori defence on all but the rarest occasion, and when they did, they were unable to muster the support players to extend the Maori.

By comparison, the Maori were able to withstand Canada's best with patience almost as important as defensive technique and utilise their greater speed and understanding to take most of the opportunities that came their way.


In the pack lock Jackson Hemopo, flanker Tom Franklin and No.8 Akira Ioane were constants in providing good ball while fullback Charlie Ngatai demonstrated his best qualities and assessment of situations in a backline that allowed all players to make contributions.

Significantly, halfback Brad Weber excelled back on the international scene to stake an early claim for the No.3 All Blacks berth while substitute Te Toiroa Tahuiorangi made the most of his opportunities as well.

Flanker Dan Pryor got himself in trouble 15 minutes into the game with a high tackle which result in his being sin-binned and wing Brock Staller was able to put Canada in front when landing his second penalty goal.

However, from the restart Ngatai fielded a high ball as Canada cleared from their own 22m area. From the ruck, Weber slid the ball on the blindside where second five-eighths Rob Thompson burst onto the ball at speed. The defence was stretched and he passed out to left wing Ambrose Curtis who was unhindered in running in for the try.
However, Curtis was forced to leave the field seven minutes later 24 minutes into the game with a leg injury allowing Shaun Stevenson to substitute for him to make his debut for the side.

Pryor marked his return to play by contributing to a five-metre scrum after local halfback Phil Mack was trapped in-goal fielding a kick. From the scrum, Thomson took the ball towards the line and from the pick-up Ioane charged over for the try.

Just before half-time captain AshyDixon threw to the front of the lineout where Franklin stormed around from the back and quickly passed back to Dixon. He transferred back to Franklin for the simplest of tries.

After a 10-minute burst at the start of the second half Canada again became frustrated by their inability to make ground, this again in spite of another yellow card, this time against centre Tim Bateman for an alleged high tackle, and ran out of patience.
Moving the ball back and across the field without making significant impact on the advantage line, Canada tried a grubber kick close to the sideline. Ngatai trapped the ball in his legs, picked it up close to the sideline and left the defence in his wake on a 50m run to the goal-line for a 52nd minute try.

Canada didn't help their cause when lock Josh Larsen was ruled to have treated Weber dangerously in a lineout and was sin-binned.

With many of the Maori substitutes ushered into action for the final quarter, they celebrated with a pushover tighthead and then from a lineout throw they moved the ball from the top of the lineout with two miss out passes which found Ioane running in the centres and he unloaded to Stevenson who scored in the 62nd minute.

More lineout impetus created the chance for the 68th minute try for replacement first five-eighths Jackson Garden-Bachop to waltz through close to the goal-line for the try.

The match ended with a perfectly-timed incursion from the blindside wing by Sean Wainui saw him take an inside pass from Bateman. Through the gap, he applied his speed to run in for the seventh and final try for the Maori.

The tourists' discipline was impressive in light of some confusing refereeing interpretations.

Scorers: Canada 9 (Brock Staller 3 pen) Maori All Blacks 51 (Ambrose Curtis, Akira Ioane, Tom Franklin, Charlie Ngatai, Shaun Stevenson, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Sean Wainui tries; Ihaia West 4 con, 2 pen; Garden-Bachop con). HT: 27-9