A promising start for Ireland ‘A’ with scores from young guns Cave and Earls was blown away by a powerful display by the Maori in the Churchill Cup last night.
Sandy Park, Exeter
Ireland A 22 – NZ Maori 50
Ireland A: Tries, Cave (2), Earls, Gannon; Conversion, Sexton. New Zealand Maori: Tries, Gear (2), Paku, Ellison, May; Conversions, Ellison (5); Penalty, Ellison
The Maori side will now contest the final of the Churchill Cup against the England Saxons after a powerful display of rugby last night. Ireland will playoff for third against Scotland.
A promising start from Ireland with a try on five minutes from Under 20 young gun Darren Cave was quickly countered by a penalty by outhalf Tamati Ellison and try Hosea Gear three minutes later.
Ireland hit back when Keith Earls slipped through several tackles and strolled over, with the sin-binning of May for an off-the-ball tackle further aiding their cause.
But they could not take advantage as Paku drove over from close range after slick footwork from Rua Tipoki had set up a dangerous field position for the Maori.
Ireland scrum-half Frank Murphy followed May into the sin-bin for straying offside to prevent a likely opposition score and then Ellison darted around several tackles to further stretch the Maori’s lead.
Gear added his second with a sublime finish that swept him between three Irish defenders and May powered his way through from the base of a ruck shortly after.
May galloped over for the Maori’s sixth try following some excellent handling down the blindside.
Cave added Ireland’s third try and David Gannon touched down late in the game. A show of the ball from Sexton allowed Cave to ghost through as Ireland produced an encouraging passage of play and substitute Gannon sprinted over to further slash the deficit.
But there was still time for Callum Bruce to ensure the Maori had the final word with a simple score.
IRELAND: R McCarron (J Hearty h/t); P McKenzie, D Cave, K Earls (S Mallon 40-41, 56), J Murphy; J Sexton, F Murphy (C Keane 79); R Hogan (D Fitzpatrick 14, S Keogh 53), J Fogarty (capt, S Cronin 54), M Ross (D Gannon 69); R Caldwell, A Farley; J O’Sullivan, J O’Connor, R Wilson. Yellow card: F Murphy
NEW ZEALAND MAORI: S Paku; H Gear, D Sweeney, R Tipoki (capt, C Bruce 70), A Tahana (P Te Whare 62); T Ellison, C Smiley (J Rodley 73); C West (H Tui 66), A de Malamanche, (L Mahoney 25-27, 40-41, 48-52, 65) B May; K Ormsby (I Ross 73), H Triggs; A MacDonald (J Hoeta 18-22), T Latimer (J Hoeta 62), W Smith (H Tui 25-33). Yellow cards: May, Rodley.
Referee: A MacPherson (Scotland).