Lions impress in win over Maori All Blacks
June 17, 2017 / 9:43 pm / Conor Sharkey
There were starts for Tadhg Furlong, Seán O’Brien and Johnny Sexton in the Lions’ win over the Maori All Blacks, with Jack McGrath coming on for Mako Vunipola for the final 20 minutes.
In poor conditions in Rotorua, the Lions pack put in an imperious performance on the way to a 32-10 win.
Leigh Halfpenny kicked two early penalties to put the Lions ahead, but it was the Maori All Blacks who got the game’s first try.
George North went to claim a kick on the deck down the left wing in the Lions half but the ball came loose and Liam Messam kicked ahead and dived on the ball to score.
Halfpenny and the Maori All Blacks 10 Damian McKenzie exchanged kicks before half-time with the Welshman kicking two from two, and McKenzie one out of his two shots to make it 10-12 in the Lions’ favour at the break.
The Lions took full control in the second half and kept the Maoris scoreless.
Halfpenny kicked his fifth penalty in the 43rd minute. This was followed a few minutes later by a penalty try for the Lions – an immediate seven points now with a World Rugby rule change removing the need for a conversion.
Not long after, Maro Itoje went over to score the Lions’ second try and make sure of the win, with Halfpenny adding a sixth and final three-pointer near the end.
The game also saw the Leinster-bound James Lowe start for the Maori All Blacks at full-back – a change to his usual left-wing berth for the Chiefs in Super Rugby.
The Lions face the Chiefs on Tuesday (KO 8.35am Irish time) in the final game before the first Test against the All Blacks in Eden Park next Saturday (KO 8.35am Irish time).
Lions fixtures & results
13-7 win v NZ Provincial Barbarians, Toll Stadium, Whangarei (Saturday, 3rd June, KO 8.35am Irish/7.35pm New Zealand)
22-16 defeat v Auckland Blues, Eden Park, Auckland (Wednesday, 7th June, KO 8.35am/7.35pm)
12-3 win v Crusaders, AMI Stadium, Christchurch (Saturday, 10th June, KO 8.35am/7.35pm)
23-22 defeat v Highlanders, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin (Tuesday, 13th June, KO 8.35am/7.35pm)
32-10 win v Maori All Blacks, Rotorua International Stadium (Saturday, 17th June, KO 8.35am/7.35pm)
v Chiefs, FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton (Tuesday, 20th June, KO 8.35am/7.35pm)
v All Blacks, Eden Park, Auckland (Saturday, 24th June, KO 8.35am/7.35pm)
v Hurricanes, Westpac Stadium, Wellington (Tuesday, 27th June, KO 8.35am/7.35pm)
v All Blacks, Westpac Stadium, Wellington (Saturday, 1st July, KO 8.35am/7.35pm)
v All Blacks, Eden Park, Auckland (Saturday, 8th July, KO 8.35am/7.35pm)