Another key win for NZ Maori

Getty Images     22 Jun 2008     Getty Images

However, a disappointing second half in which it was scoreless and subjected to a solid test of its defensive capability, left the Maori side with plenty to work on.

Messy play at the lineout, with long throws being collected by the Samoans, denied the Maori the platform they sought to add further pressure on the visitors.

Two sin-binnings of Samoan players, one in each half, proved costly as the Maori were able to score two of their tries in those circumstances.

After a 12th minute penalty to first five-eighths Callum Bruce, the NZ Maori team camped in the Samoan 22m area while launching a sequence of drives which saw Samoan lock Chad Slade sin-binned for getting offside in a maul.

The Samoans had infringed several times and had been warned. Initially, in Slade's absence some outstanding defence held the Maori out.

The Maori finally penalised the Samoans for Slade's loss when Bruce slipped a grubber kick into the in-goal area then raced past the line of Samoan defenders to win the touch down and add the conversion after 28 minutes.

Just before halftime the Maori broke out from their own half with blindside flanker Liam Messam charging onto the ball on the blindside before linking with No.8 Thomas Waldrom who took the tackle and then fed halfback Piri Weepu for him to run in the try behind the posts which was converted by Bruce to allow the Maori a 17-0 lead at halftime.

Samoan fullback Gavin Williams put the side on the board when landing a long penalty goal five minutes into the second half.

Samoa then enjoyed a period of continuity of possession with captain and lock Filipo Levi playing a leading hand along with powerful No.8 George Stowers. However, the loss of second five-eighths Anitelea Tuilagi to the sin bin upset the Samoan momentum and it was the Maori who finished strongest.

Former league international centre Henry Faafili was another to show out on attack but ultimately the lack of continuity denied Samoa


New Zealand Maori 17 (Callum Bruce, Piri Weepu tries; Bruce 2 con, pen) Samoa 6 (Gavin Williams 2 pen). HT: 17-0