Counties Manukau lock Kristian Ormsby scored four tries in the New Zealand Maori team’s 74-6 win over the United States in their opening match of the Churchill Cup in San Francisco on Wednesday.
Ormsby said that the positive start to the campaign was encouraging.
“It was a great way to start this Churchill Cup. I think we still have a few things to iron out but we are pleased with the performance overall,” he said.
Winger Cory Jane scored a hat-trick of tries and loose forward Liam Messam dotted down twice. The other try scorers were winger Zar Lawrence, fullback Shannon Paku and tighthead prop Mike Noble.
First five-eighths and debutant Matt Berquist kicked seven conversions.
New Zealand Maori coach Donny Stevenson said: "We are pleased with the result and there were some good things out there but still a lot to work on. The USA put us under pressure at times and that was reflected in the penalty count. They brought a lot of intensity to the game and we had to make sure our defence was up to the task and we came through in the end."
Tour captain Jono Gibbes said it was tough in the first half but the team pulled through magnificently.
“The home team had great support here tonight and we had to weather that and find out feet after the travelling. But I thought we were passionate and got through the 80 minutes pretty well,” Gibbes said.
He said although the team conceded too many penalties in the first half, they improved in the second and used their opportunities.
The New Zealand Maori team’s next match is against Ireland A on Sunday 11 June (NZ time). Kick off is 2.30pm Saturday (San Francisco time).
And Ormsby has already sized up the opposition.
“We have seen a little bit of the Ireland A side and know they will be a very organised side. The Irish team will always be tough up front so we will have to do some work against them on Saturday,” he said.