Maori ABs slump in fretful contest
The Maori All Blacks have ended the year in defeat after a fiery clash with the French Barbarians which featured two bizarre yellow cards.
Coach Clayton McMillan's side put in a messy performance hampered by missed tackles and handling errors to go down 19-15 in Bordeaux with several scuffles breaking out in the second half.
The Maori All Blacks levelled the match up at 8-all with a Sean Wainui try shortly after halftime but that's as close as they got to securing a second win of their short two-game tour.
The Maori didn't deserve to be in the hunt but were handed a chance to steal the game late after earning a penalty try while trailing 19-8.
Replacement captain Tim Bateman somehow convinced Japanese referee Shuhei Kubo to re-review a head-high tackle on reserve Sean Polwart while he made a dash for the tryline. Kubo initially went upstairs to the TMO to review whether Polwart was held up or not as he scrambled to the line after a high shot.
After seeing no evidence of a try the referee was set to call a penalty when Bateman questioned a potential penalty try. Kubo went back to the TMO and then ruled a penalty try as well as sending offender Antoine Tichit to the bin.
The Maori were given seven points to close it to 19-15 and a oneman advantage for the rest of the game as boos rung around the packed ground. Both the decision and the delay in making it were questionable.
However, the French Barbarians held up with some brave defence to secure the victory.
It was the second odd call by Kubo after he yellow-carded Maori All Blacks replacement Jordan Manihera earlier in the second half for clearing a French player out of a ruck after the whistle. Replays clearly showed the tackle took place before Kubo called a stop to play.
The French Barbarians made the most of the one-man advantage, extending their lead to 19-8.
Three small scuffles broke out throughout the second half as the frustration levels, and error counts, from both sides grew.
In a messy encounter, the French Barbarians scored the opening try off a poor Jackson Garden-Bachop clearance which was charged down in the first half. The Maori All Blacks opening try by Wainui also came from a Barbarians lineout mistake.
The Maori All Blacks opened their tour with a 51-9 thrashing of Canada in Vancouver last week.
Prop Marcel Renata is snared in a tackle against the French Baabaas.