Maori crush Ireland A to reach final

New Zealand Maori booked their place in the Churchill Cup Final with a crushing 50-22 victory over Ireland A at Sandy Park in Exeter on Tuesday, and will now defend their title against England Saxons.

Ireland A made the Maoris fight hard in the first half but faded after the break and never quite had enough fire power to over come the reigning champions.

The Maori tries came through Hosea Gear and Ben May who both bagged a brace, Shannon Paku, Tamati Ellison and Callum Bruce. Ellison also added thirteen points with the boot.

The Irish looked to stamp their authority on the match right from the start and succeeded when Cave crossed with just two minutes on the clock.

The pack drove forward at a scrum and released to Johnny Sexton who picked out the onrushing Cave.

Tamati Ellison waved him through with a weak tackle and Sexton slotted the conversion, only for the Maori to respond swiftly with an Ellison penalty.

Superb vision from Paku then saw the Maori creep into the lead with the full-back chipping through Ireland’s backline and Gear was on hand to touch down.

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.

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.

The Scorers:

For New Zealand Maori:

Tries: Gear 2, May 2, Paku, Ellison, Bruce
Cons: Ellison 5, Sweeney
Pen: Ellison

For Ireland A:

Tries: Cave 2, Earls, Gannon
Cons: Sexton

New Zealand Maori: 15 Shannon Paku, 14 Hosea Gear, 13 Dwayne Sweeney, 12 Rua Tipoki, 11 Anthony Tahana, 10 Tamati Ellison, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Warren Smith, 7 Scott Waldrom/Tanerau Latimer, 6 Angus Macdonald, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Kristian Ormsby, 3 Ben May, 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Craig West.
Replacements: 16 Luke Mahoney, 17 Hoani Tui, 18 Isaac Ross, 19 Jarrad Hoeata, 20 James Rodley, 21 Callum Bruce, 22 Pehi Te Whare.

Ireland A: 15 Ross McCarron, 14 Paul McKenzie, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Keith Earls, 11 Johnny Murphy, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Johnny O’Connor, 6 John O’Sullivan, 5 Andrew Farley, 4 Ryan Caldwell, 3 Michael Ross, 2 John Fogarty (captain), 1 Ray Hogan.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Declan Fitzpatrick, 18 David Gannon, 19 Stephen Keogh, 20 Chris
Keane, 21 Seamus Mallon, 22 John Hearty.

Referee: Andy Macpherson (Scotland)
Touch judges: James Jones (Wales), Andrew Small (England)
Assessor: Paul Bridgman (England)
Television match official: Geoff Warren (England)


365 Digital

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