Tigers' defeat first in five years for NZ Maori

Louis Deacon of Leicester Tigers is tackles Andre Taylor of the Maori All Blacks during the Leicester Tigers and Maori All Blacks. Photo / Getty Images.
Louis Deacon of Leicester Tigers is tackles Andre Taylor of the Maori All Blacks during the Leicester Tigers and Maori All Blacks. Photo / Getty Images.

The defeat by the New Zealand Maori to Leicester Tigers today was their first in five years.

The good news for coaches Jamie Joseph and Daryl Gibson is that their remaining two games on their United Kingdom tour against a Championship Select XV and Canada are likely to be easier, but they will be extremely disappointed in the nature of their 32-24 loss at Welford Road.

A lack of discipline - most notably resulting in yellow cards to fullback Andre Taylor and lock Jarrad Hoeata in each half - was costly for the Maori, who outscored the Tigers three tries to two. Crucially, first-five George Ford took advantage of the constant errors and offending for a 22-point haul which included six penalties.

Hoeata later said on social media platform Twitter: "Gutted about the loss, too many unforced errors and poor discipline let us down.''

The Maori last lost in 2007, a narrow defeat in a Churchill Cup final to the England Saxons at Twickenham. Since then they have enjoyed a sustained period of success which included victories over England and Ireland in New Zealand.

Seven Maori players were making their debuts, with four more newcomers in the reserves, but the Tigers were missing 10 internationals.

Maori halfback Frae Wilson scored his side's first try in front of a crowd of 17,000 but the visitors were quickly on the back foot as they conceded tries to Tigers wings Niall Morris and Adam Thompstone.

At 26-7 down, the Maori were looking at a demoralising defeat but a Willie Ripia penalty and converted try from second-five Tim Bateman put them back in touch at 26-14. Another Ripia penalty narrowed the halftime gap to 26-17.

Centre Charlie Ngatai scored the only try of the second half but the Tigers' defence and regular errors from the Maori conspired against Joseph's men.

Their next match is against a Championship Select XV on Sunday (NZT), before they play Canada at Oxford University next Saturday.

Leicester Tigers 32 (Niall Morris, Adam Thompstone tries; George Ford 2 cons, 6 pens) NZ Maori 24 (Frae Wilson, Tim Bateman, Charlie Ngatai tries; Willie Ripia 3 cons, pen). HT: 26-17.

- APNZ

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 20 Sep 2014 21:57:59 Processing Time: 629ms