Maori All Blacks defeat Canada
November 4, 2013
New Zealand Maori winger Andre Taylor breaks a tackle against Canada
© Getty Images
Jamison Gibson-Park celebrated his late call-up to the Maori All Blacks side with two tries in their 40-15 win over Canada in Toronto. Piri Weepu was a late withdrawal after tweaking a knee, but the Maori lost little as they ran in six tries in front of a vocal 22,000 crowd at a sold-out BMO Field.
The Kieran Crowley-coached Canadians started brightly, with Jeff Hassler crossing after five minutes when a disorganised Maori All Blacks scrum lost possession inside their own 22. The tourists replied almost immediately with former All Blacks winger Zac Guildford dotting down in the corner after quick hands shifted the ball wide, but they failed to add to that score until the half-hour mark neared when Gibson-Park picking up his first after Canada lost possession with sloppy work at the lineout.
Robbie Robinson added the third five minutes from half-time, making the initial break then linking with his forwards before slicing through some poor defence to give the Maori a 19-5 lead at the break.
New Zealand Maori fire up before play with their customary haka © Getty Images
Gibson-Park picked up his second 10 minutes after the restart. Guildford pounced on the loose ball with Canada hot on attack and linked with Robinson, who hared down the left touchline and offloaded inside for the halfback to score.
Canada grabbed one back as 60 minutes ticked over, skipper Aaron Carpenter barrelling over from a strong lineout drive to reduce the Maori lead to nine points, but substitutes Matt Proctor and Nick Barrett added tries in the final 10 minutes as the tourists dominated possession and territory against the tiring Canadians.
New Zealand Maori Coach Colin Cooper said he was pleased with the effort of his side given the rushed preparation and long trip to Toronto.
"We wanted to start this tour well and play our style of rugby and fortunately the conditions were favourable so we could deliver the game plan we wanted to play," he told website allblacks.com. "We knew Canada would come out aggressively, but they surprised us with their expansive game and that early try showed that. They also didn't kick the ball long so that meant we couldn't counter attack as we planned. So we had to work hard and fortunately secured some good turnovers which resulted in tries.
"We were certainly forced to dig deep and responded well. To Canada's credit, they kept testing us, but I was really impressed with the effort the players put in given we have only been together for a week and had a long journey to get here. We face another big test in six days' time so will be working hard on a number of things in the days ahead. Defensively we didn't quite go as well as we wanted so that will certainly be one key focus for us."
The Maori All Blacks next play the United States in Philadelphia on Sunday.