NZ Maoris beat England in rugby clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NZ Maoris beat England in rugby clash

23/06/2010 08:16:24 PM Comments (0)

Former All Blacks winger Hosea Gear scored three tries as the New Zealand Maori rugby team capped their centenary celebrations with a 35-28 win over England at Napier on Wednesday.

The Maori, who had previously beaten the New Zealand Barbarians and Ireland in a three-match centenary series, rallied from 28-17 down at halftime to post its second win over England in as many meetings.

Gear touched down once in the first half, and then twice in the first five minutes of the second to give the Maori control of a match.

England started strongly and led 13-0 after only nine minutes with a try to flanker Steffon Armitage, converted by five-eighth Charlie Hodgson, who also kicked two penalties.

The Maori were constantly dangerous from turnovers and broken play and hit back with Gear's first try after 13 minutes.

Captain Liam Messam went over four minutes later to give his team a 17-13 lead.

England then rallied with two tries in the last two minutes of the first half - the first to halfback Danny Care and the second to winger Chris Ashton after a Hodgson intercept - to take a 28-17 lead into halftime.

The Maori had to start the second half strongly to keep alive a proud international record which includes two wins over England and others over France, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions.

They got it as Gear touched down in the 42nd and 45th minutes to force the third lead change.

Gear's second try put the Maori ahead 29-28 and they played territorial rugby in the last 35 minutes to retain their lead.

England had huge scrum superiority in the first half but the Maori gradually addressed that through tighthead Ben Afeaki and had enough control to cling to their lead.

They camped in England's half for much of the final quarter and replacement five-eighth Willie Ripia kicked penalties in the 71st and 75th minutes to clinch the win.

"They came out firing in the first 10 minutes and I thought the boys did well to claw our way back into the match," Messam said.

"We knew the first 10 minutes of the second half would be crucial and we managed to score two tries in that period to really win the game."

England captain Chris Robshaw added: "The Maori came here with a great tradition and we came here to win but I think the better team won on the night.

"From turnovers they destroyed us. If you give these guys a bit of open space they'll kill anyone which they did to us today."

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