Full Ireland player ratings as Maori All Blacks vanquished in Wellington
MAORI ALL BLACKS 24-30 IRELAND
It has taken a stretch of years, but Ireland have finally beaten the Maori All Blacks. Our Ireland player ratings feature two back-rows in ripping form.
Many may have feared for a repeat of the opening Maori game as Ireland made three errors in the first two minutes. It led to an attacking Maori libeout but they had no intention of mauling. Instead, the ball zipped wide left and Shaun Stevenson got over in the corner.
Ireland got a lot better after that poor start. Some smart play from Keith Earls saw him find a flying Jordan Larmour with a quick lineout. Larmour was away for the try. Ciarán Frawley converted that score and added a penalty to make it 10-5.
It was 17-5 - the score heading into half-time - when, after yellow cards were flashed to both sides, Nick Timoney crashed over for a try that Frawley converted.
Penalty try call goes against Ireland
After Frawley kicked Ireland 20-5 ahead, we had a moment that mirrored a moment from the Second Test against New Zealand.
Jaco Peyper denied Ireland clear penalty try when Garry Ringrose was tackled off-ball, with the tryline beckoning. Today, referee Karl Dickson yellow-carded Jordan Larmour for an off-ball tackle on Conor Garden-Bachop AND awarded the penalty try.
Ireland weathered the storm well, with Larmour in the sin-bin, and a Gavin Coombes try, with 10 minutes to go, made it 25-12. The hosts were not giving up, though. A lightning attack and multiple offloads saw Ruben Love get over for a fine try, but the conversion was missed.
That miss meant the Maori side needed two scores to win it. Ireland had it in the bag, and they tied a knot in it with a late Larmour try.
Brad Weber got a consolation score, but that's all it was. For the first time in their five encounters, over the years, Ireland beat the Maori All Blacks.
IRELAND PLAYER RATINGS
Mike Lowry - 8
In the slick conditions, the ball was a bar of soap. Lowry juggled a few high bombs but, crucially, held on. Made a brave tackle on charging lock Isaia Walker-Leawere. Hared back and showed great nous to snuff out a dangerous counter-attack, when Ireland were down to 14.
Jordan Larmour - 7
Was alive to that quick lineout and delivered Ireland their first try. Won his side a turnover by knocking the ball out of a Maori ball-carrier as he charged into the Irish 22. Was yellow-carded for tackling Garden-Bachop, off the ball, and gave up a penalty try, too. Poor kick eventually led to Ruben Love try. Bagged a second try at the death.
Keith Earls - 7
Showed quick-thinking to take a lineout throw himself, when no-one was set, giving Larmour an easy try. Threw a couple of passes into touch.
Stuart McCloskey - 8
Forced a turnover with a smart play on TJ Perenara, at the breakdown. His impact was more of a defensive nature. Choke tackle, on 68 minutes, won his side yet another turnover. Missle pass to Larmour set up the final try.
Jimmy O'Brien - 6
Tidy enough in what he did, but was kept quiet in attack. Even when he did look to have a great try-scoring chance
Ciaran Frawley - 8
Failed to find touch with a clearing penalty kick, on 13 minutes, and was so fortunate it did not result in a Maori try. Redeemed himself with a breakdown poach when Ireland were down to 14. Goal-kicking started great but missed two touchline efforts. On it, in attack and defence.
Craig Casey - 7
Enjoyed himself out there, playing off much more solid, reliable ball. Couple of snipes to keep the Kiwis honest.
Jeremy Loughman - 7
Playing emergency scrumhalf, switch passes and dummying backline stars - the modern prop! Nice to see him have a solid outing after his concussion in the first game.
Niall Scannell - 8
Lovely early physicality at the breakdown. Won his side two penalties at Maori rucks inside the Irish half. Then made an intercept just before half-time to end another Maori attack. Overthrew one lineout, but conditions for that set-piece were far from easy.
Tom O’Toole - 8
Another solid game, at set-pieces and in the lose. Did give away a penalty when his knee dropped, after the hour mark. Threw himself out for 75 minutes.
Joe McCarthy - 6
Hopefully this tour experience sees to him, despite it not going all his own way in the midweek games. Industrious and can tackle all day. Breakdown technique needs work, and he was penalised a couple of times. Had more his own way in the second half.
Kieran Treadwell - 8
Has enjoyed a fine tour. Worked his hump off, out there. Lots of big tackles, rucks smashed and dug teammates out of holes.
Cian Prendergast - 7
Won his side a breakdown penalty, just outside the Irish 22. Was yellow-carded for not retreating 10 metres on a Maori penalty. Sprinted back to help kick clear after a dangerous counter.
Nick Timoney - 9
Sniffed his try-scoring opportunity, close in, and grabbed it. Started the second half by winning his side a breakdown penalty that made it 20-5. Won his side another breakdown penalty, on 55 minutes.
Gavin Coombes - 8
Came so, so close to a try, on 30 minutes, but was just held up. Not as all-action as his first tour game, but finished big. Helped himself to a try his hard graft deserved.
Ryan Baird (for Treadwell '55) - 7
No starts on tour but will hope to feature on the bench for the Third Test. Won a turnover inside the Maori 22.
Ed Byrne (for Loughman '61) - 6
Turned over close to the Maori line.
Joey Carbery (for Lowry '64) - 6
On to cover fullback as Lowry underwent a HIA. Had a pass to O'Brien intercepted, but it led to the Maori yellow card.
Michael Bent (for O'Toole '75) - N/A
Nice swansong for the former Leinster prop.