Ireland take lessons from Māori All Blacks clash

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English referee Wayne Barnes hit Ireland with penalties in the first half, by which time the Māori All Blacks had secured a 32-10 lead.

Ireland coach Andy Farrell said the side was disappointed with the result and felt they could have done better, especially in the first half.

The Māori All Blacks had deservedly won the game, and their skill set, in the conditions in the first half, had been decisive.

He was proud of how Ireland responded in the second half because it appeared it could have been a landslide win for the Māori All Blacks.

They had created three or four chances but didn't take them in the second half, but it had been a gutsier display.

But there were benefits from the lessons learned. Five players made their debuts which was good for Ireland's future.

He said it was to be expected after travelling halfway around the world, and playing within seven days, there would be some ups and downs.

"In all, I think it's a good day for us in regards to lads learning lessons and knowing that if we fix a few things, especially discipline-wise, we can give a better account of ourselves in the next game," he said.

"I thought we played some nice rugby at times, opened them up a little bit and it was that last pass we were a little bit too eager with as far as decision-making is concerned," he said.

Captain and former Chiefs player Bundee Aki explained the side's gesture of presenting the family of the late Māori All Black and Chiefs wing Sean Wainui with an Irish jersey after the haka.

Aki said it was a huge privilege to do that for his family.

He added that it was also a privilege to captain the side, and he got a little emotional because it was the first time he had played in front of his family for eight or nine years.

"We had good pieces throughout the match. The Māori team came out with a good start but our discipline let us down and I put my hand up for a few of those [penalties]," he said.

When they happened consecutively, a team like the Māori would make good use of their chances.

They had looked each other in the eye at halftime and knew they had to believe in themselves and be a lot better than they had been in the first half, and they managed to achieve that.

Farrell said he expected his Test players would have sat and watched and learned from the side's experiences against the Māori.

All sides in New Zealand had similar skill sets, and Ireland knew they would be tested at a higher level by the All Blacks on Saturday.


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