Maori All Blacks rout US Eagles
Winger James Lowe and backrower Akira Ioane both scored two tries as the New Zealand Maori rugby team beat the United States 54-7 on Saturday to claim their 70th win over a full international team.
Lowe scored twice in the first half and Ioane touched down once in each half as the Maori won by eight tries to one to extend their record against the USA to four wins from four games. Both captains scored: Ash Dixon for the New Zealand Maori shortly before halftime and Todd Clever for the United States whose only try came at the start of the second half. Maori prop Kane Hames had a try disallowed in the first half but scored another in the second while replacement scrumhalf Brad Weber touched down before ending the game in the sin bin.
Substitute hooker Joe Royal added the last try near fulltime and Damian McKenzie, one of four touring All Blacks leant to the Maori team for the match, converted from the sideline. McKenzie took over the goalkicking duties from flyhalf Ihaia West who kept a perfect record with six conversions from as many attempts.
Will Holder converted the United States’ try. The USA began strongly and occasionally troubled the Maori team in the first 10 minutes with rolling drives. But when Lowe scored the opening try in the 10th minute the tide turned and the Maori team was dominant for most of the rest of the match.The New Zealanders were able to dominate the middle of the field with powerful ball carriers, and when the defense had been drawn in, to unleash their pace on the flanks. Their defensive line speed was also too much for the United States whose players were regularly cut down behind the gain line, placing them under continuous pressure.
Flyhalf Holder’s clearances were wayward and the United States found itself trapped inside its own half for long periods. The Maori quickly punished the USA for missed tackles, notably when Ioane scored his first try in the 19th minute.
Lowe had his second in the 33rd minute when West chipped behind the defense for center Matt Proctor to regather and to put his winger untouched under the posts.
Dixon’s try from a rolling maul gave the Maori team a 28-0 lead at halftime. Ioane brushed off tackles to score his second in the 44th minute before the United States hit back with Clever’s try from a lineout drive five minutes later. Dixon and Ioane scored while US hooker James Hilterbrand was in the sin bin for a professional foul.
Hames made amends for having his first half try ruled out for a double movement when he scored in the 51st minute. Weber scored the seventh try in the 63rd minute.The Maori lost some of their continuity in the last quarter but Royal pushed them through the 50 point mark just before the end. —AP
CHICAGO: Tom Franklin of the Maori All Blacks takes the ball in the lineout during the Intenational Rugby Match between the USA Eagles and the New Zealand Maori All Blacks at Toyota Patk on Friday in Chicago, Illinois. —AFP