British and Irish Lions down Maori All Blacks in Rotorua

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    The British and Irish Lions have turned the second-half screws on the Maori All Blacks, emerging 32-10 victors in Rotorua.

    Holding a slender 15-10 lead early in the second half, the Lions were handed a major shot in the arm through the controversial sin-binning of Maori halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow – who hit a slipping Leigh Halfpenny high with his shoulder.

    Down a man, the Maori struggled to compete with the Lions’ set-piece and were 29-10 behind when Kerr-Barlow’s returned to the field 10 minutes later.

    Despite the win, it was another unimposing performance from the Test selection, who are running out of time before next week’s first Test against the All Blacks.

    They offered few surprises from beginning to end, sticking to the brawny “Warrenball” style that served them so well last week against the Crusaders – even allowing for an improved performance from Irish playmaker Johnny Sexton.

    The unerring boot of Welsh fullback Halfpenny put away four penalty goals in the first half and another two in the second – yet, despite a huge territory and possession advantage, the Lions seldom created try-scoring chances.

    When they did, such as through Jonathan Davies and Conor Murray, they often looked to grind out a penalty and turn to the metronomic Halfpenny.

    Along with Halfpenny’s 18 points, a penalty try and pick-and-go effort from Englishman Maro Itoje were eventually enough for victory.

    The Maori ran the ball with less abandon than expected and frequently sought out tactical kicks to the Lions’ defensive corners.

    They were the only side to nab a first-half try, with Liam Messam capitalising on a 12th-minute George North error to grubber ahead for himself and score.

    With a two-point deficit at the break, the Maoris’ chances of repeating the 2005 feat of downing the Lions looked good – until Kerr-Barlow’s sin-binning, and the concession of a three-try lead from which they couldn’t recover.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (27)

    • June 17th 2017 @ 8:45pm
      Drongo said | June 17th 2017 @ 8:45pm | ! Report

      That is a very nice win for a now well prepared Lions ahead of the 1st test next week. Wonder if the ABs are as ready as the BIL will be? Maybe it won’t matter but a romp against Samoa is hardly as good as 4 hard games.

      • June 17th 2017 @ 9:01pm
        Bazza Allblack Supporter said | June 17th 2017 @ 9:01pm | ! Report

        Good playing to their strengths by lions but I am confident The Darkness will have parity at scrum and breakdown – if all blacks negate the maul then lions will struggle.

        Very dull game though ….

        • June 17th 2017 @ 11:59pm
          adastra32 said | June 17th 2017 @ 11:59pm | ! Report

          I find the ‘damned with faint praise’ stuff – win or lose – that has typified descriptions of every Lions game so far in these august Oz columns as more than ironic. Particularly, when viewed against Australia’s performance vs. Scotland. Game plan to suit the conditions or headless chicken rugby? I know which I prefer.

      • Roar Guru

        June 18th 2017 @ 9:57am
        taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        Wasnt a romp before the game. How come its a romp now?
        They said that about France who qualified in pool in 15.
        Its odd how they werent ‘useless’ until aftet the ABs met them.

    • Roar Guru

      June 17th 2017 @ 9:33pm
      Poth Ale said | June 17th 2017 @ 9:33pm | ! Report

      Very dull game?

      Only if you don’t like different rugby styles.

      • Roar Guru

        June 18th 2017 @ 9:49am
        Jokerman said | June 18th 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

        Maybe if you have a dull personality, Poth it could be exciting!

        Don’t worry the black machine is waiting and they will show them how the game should be played.

        The black wave is building… It’s on it’s way…!

    • June 18th 2017 @ 1:14am
      Chaz said | June 18th 2017 @ 1:14am | ! Report

      The Maoris suffer their biggest ever defeat to the Lions and I’ve got a feeling of disappointment- if they could just learn about support lines they’d be a pretty decent team. For the first time it feels like the series (or at least a 3-0 whitewash) doesn’t seem so preordained.

      • Roar Guru

        June 18th 2017 @ 9:59am
        Jokerman said | June 18th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

        Maori just didn’t play well, or adapt fast enough. Their captain seemed to get dragged down emotionally. They were penalised out of the game too. Yep, hard to watch after such a epic Haka.

        But this is good for the All Blacks. We know exactly what to expect, and they can serve some justice for beating up our Maori!

        The Lions, to their credit, played simply to their strengths, and were just way too good.

        In real terms, the Maori played the second best team in the world, and their prep wasn’t up to scratch. Bless them bro! Another time will come for them. Next time the Maori will learn and win. 🙂

      • June 20th 2017 @ 4:00pm
        Ruka said | June 20th 2017 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

        How can anyone expect the Māori to be competitive after 7 days together and playing against the absolute best of 4 nations combined?
        Far too many people on here can not separate fact from reality.
        The Māori were given absolutely nothing to work with and were for all intents and purposes thrown into the Lions Den by the NZRU.
        Notice how they (NZRU)won’t put the All Blacks in there against the Lions undercooked but were more than happy to put the Māori in without so much as a warmup. In 2005 the Māori played a warm up and had all there eligible All Blacks released it was no surprise that they were competitive.

    • June 18th 2017 @ 5:58am
      Playerfromwayback said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:58am | ! Report

      Congratulations BIL’s, a very comprehensive and clinical performance. The Darkness will need to be prepared to “win ugly”. Very contrasting styles when comparing both teams, so which style will come out on top next week, the AB’s Harlem Globetrotters style and all court game? or the BIL’s set piece, kick for territory and pressure defence type game? In my humble opinion it will come down to who has the better execution on the night! Game on! ?

    • Roar Rookie

      June 18th 2017 @ 9:21am
      Kaizer said | June 18th 2017 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      Advantage and Disadvantages from this game.

      The advantage the BIL have is runs under their belt and though comprehensive in their manner of victory over the MAB, they somewhat showed their hand. With AB coaching staff in the stands, I can probably assume that the ABs have already settled on their match day 23 with a plan B in mind (take note cheika). Itoje v Retallick is as good as it’s going to get. A heavyweight bout. Throwback to Willie John McBride up against Colin Meads. Murray v A.Smith (Going v Edwards), the front row battle will be immense. Franks v Vunipola. Cane v O’Brien. Halfpenny v B.Smith. Sexton v B.Barrett. Scrums I see parity, as too breakdowns, the Lions maul v the ABs counter-attack.

      • Roar Guru

        June 18th 2017 @ 10:03am
        taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

        Maori only know Super rugby. They havent got northern hem experience and when the first taste of it is the very best players from it, its probably not a good combo.

        ABs know all these guys, have played more NH sides than even the NH sides have.

        Theyll adapt and play their game until its time to play their own.

        That is the difference between the donestic games and the tests. Familiarity and adaptability. Let alone the skill levels.

        Lions will suddenly run into players they know, players theyve lost to many times, on their own turf.

        They havent had any if that yet.

        • June 18th 2017 @ 5:43pm
          Bakkies said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

          Where did the Maori go last November? They got flogged by Munster’s reserves it should have been more if it wasn’t for some bizarre refereeing

          • June 20th 2017 @ 4:02pm
            Ruka said | June 20th 2017 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

            And you expect a team with numerous additions to just click straight off the bat against a full strength Lions test team.
            Have another puff of whatever it is you are smoking and pass it along.

    • June 18th 2017 @ 9:46am
      stainlesssteve said | June 18th 2017 @ 9:46am | ! Report

      we must have been watching different games, AAP
      what i saw was terrifying penetration by big, strong slippery backs, whom the Māori tackled by the bootstraps, after they brushed off two or three tacklers first.
      The Lions forwards seemed to be in control, and only short bursts of wonderful, impassioned Māori play went to establish anything approaching parity.
      The Lions looked big, fast and hard
      I still think the ABs will win three, though the first test will probably be the toughest
      It certainly won’t look like the Samoa game
      It remains to be seen if the Lions have put their cards down; i doubt it
      And yes, it was two different styles, which went to make a very interesting game.
      Good stuff, Lions, enjoy the moment, it may not come again.

      • June 18th 2017 @ 9:14pm
        superba said | June 18th 2017 @ 9:14pm | ! Report

        I watched that game !
        The one where against the NZ Maori
        •the Lions had 70% possesion
        •the Lions had 70% field position
        •the MAB did not add a point after half time
        The Lions slowly suffocated the NZ Maori
        and shut them down .
        I enjoyed this game .
        The execution by the Lions was outstanding in its accuracy .
        A pythonesque performance.
        Jakeball vs Basketball
        Can’t wait for the first test .

      • June 18th 2017 @ 9:17pm
        superba said | June 18th 2017 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

        I watched that game !
        The one where against the NZ Maori
        •the Lions had 70% possesion
        •the Lions had 70% field position
        •the MAB did not add a point after half time
        The Lions slowly suffocated the NZ Maori
        and shut them down .
        I enjoyed this game .
        The execution by the Lions was outstanding in its accuracy .
        AAP must have been watching something else
        as his report was grudging and miserable.
        A pythonesque performance by the Lions .
        Jakeball vs Basketball
        Can’t wait for the first test .

    , ,