Watch: Maori All Blacks try tears Ireland apart
It was a rough start to their tour of New Zealand for Ireland as they went down 32-17 to a well-oiled Maori All Blacks side. And the hosts put on a bit of a show. Just look at the try they scored, below.
It was a one-sided first half in which the hosts scored four tries to Ireland’s one. But the pick of the bunch was the above score just at the hooter, in which Shaun Stevenson went off on a slaloming run, weaving in an out of defenders, to set up a try for Cullen Grace. Ireland looked stunned. The Maori looked slick.
As well as concerns about the set-piece, kicking strategy and breakdown defence, the Irish coaches also have some injury worries after this match.
Jeremy Loughman was replaced by Cian Healy just 90 seconds in, and that man plus James Hume and went off with second-half injuries. The options at loosehead look a little thin after this one and there are three Tests and another Maori All Blacks game to come.
One lovely moment came before the game, though, as Ireland paid tribute to the late Sean Wainui, with captain Bundee Aki presenting an Irish jersey with the number ’11’ on it. Wainui’s family looked on. And then followed the Maori’s haka.
Ireland’s three-Test series against the All Blacks starts at Auckland’s Eden Park on Saturday.
After this one, Ireland coach Andy Farrell said: “We’re disappointed, we know it was a big week for the Maori boys but it was a big week for some of our guys playing for Ireland for the first time, and the lessons learned will be brilliant going forward. Some of our lads have tasted it for the first time, and will get another crack in a couple of weeks’ time.
“There were some brilliant performances. We had (Niall Scannell) who stepped off a plane a couple of days ago and fronted up brilliantly for us, we have young kids playing 80 minutes for the first time in an Irish shirt.
“There was some really good stuff from certain individuals, and a lot of dumb stuff along the way, which is brilliant as far as our learnings are concerned. That’s what you have to iron out if you want to make it to the top.”
Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.