With one loss to the Flying Fijians, there was no better place for the Māori All Blacks to redeem themselves than the home of Māori rugby in Rotorua.

They had lost the first of the series to Fiji in Suva on July 13, so Saturday night's second match at the Rotorua International Stadium was their chance at redemption - and their chance to square the series. With everything to lose, they did just that with a 26-17 win in what was, unsurprisingly, a tough, physical match against Fiji before a 13,404-strong crowd.

Fiji was first to score, with hooker Tuvere Veremalua getting those first important points on the board thanks to an impressive between-the-legs pass from his captain Dominiko Waqaniburoto.

The Māori All Blacks weren't about to let the fact that Fiji scored first disturb their goal to win, with Sean Wainui on the wing securing the New Zealand side's first try of the match in the first half. The weekend before, Wainui scored two tries against Fiji - their only points in that game.


It was obvious the Māori All Blacks wanted the win this time around and even though the game was tied at 7-all at the end of the first half they came back to dominate the second half.

Three minutes in and midfield back Rob Thompson found a hole in Fiji's defence, securing a sneaky try right under the goal, converted by Otere Black, bringing the score to 14-7.


Soon after some quick moves meant Alex Nankivell grounded a loose ball to secure a third try for the Māori All Blacks, followed by a fourth nearly 64 minutes in from Isaia Walker-Leawere.

The second half was filled with lots of could have beens for Fiji and although they looked as though they were ready to make their mark 73 minutes into the game, it was too late for the visitors.

There were moments when Fiji looked like bulldozers smashing their way through New Zealand's defence at times but the Māori All Blacks held their own and remained strong.

The visitors managed to score once more in the game, a try that was successfully converted, with just over five minutes left of the match but it wasn't enough to claim the series with the Māori All Blacks securing the win in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.