Tigers halt Maori charge
Leicester handed the New Zealand Maori their first defeat in five years by prevailing 32-24 at Welford Road on Tuesday.
Leicester handed New Zealand Maori their first defeat in five years by prevailing 32-24 at Welford Road on Tuesday.
The Maori scored three tries to two, but they were undermined by a player sin-binned in each half and mistakes that were punished by Leicester flyhalf George Ford, who nailed his first seven goalkicks and finished with 22 points off his boot.
The Maori hadn't lost since the 2007 Churchill Cup final to England Saxons. Since then they'd beaten the likes of England and Ireland. The pack included four All Blacks but seven others made their debuts, with four more newcomers in the reserves.
Leicester, with 10 away on Test duty but still with five internationals and two making their first starts, overcame conceding an early try to scrumhalf Frae Wilson. When Maori fullback Andre Taylor was yellow-carded for obstruction, the resulting penalty was kicked by Ford for a 9-7 lead that Leicester didn't let go.
Leicester piled on converted tries to wingers Niall Morris and Adam Thompstone to lead 26-7, before the Maori closed the gap to 10 by halftime with a try for midfielder Tim Bateman.
A yellow card for New Zealand-born Leicester back Dan Bowden for a high tackle was exploited by the Maori with a try by center Charlie Ngatai that made it 29-24, but another yellow issued to lock Jarrad Hoeata gave Ford his sixth penalty, and Leicester easily held on against a Maori side willing to attack from all parts.
For Leicester Tigers:
Tries: Morris, Thompstone
Cons: Ford 2
Pens: Ford 6
For Maori All Blacks:
Tries: Wilson, Bateman, Ngatai
Cons: Ripia 3
Yellow cards: Taylor, Bowden, Hoeata
Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 George Ford, 9 Patrick Phibbs, 8 Julian Salvi, 7 Jordan Crane, 6 Ed Slater, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon (captain), 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 George Chuter, 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Jonny Harris, 17 Jimmy Stevens, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Michael Noone, 20 Richard Thorpe, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Dan Bowden, 23 Andy Forsyth.
Maori All Blacks: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Kurt Baker, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Kade Poki, 10 Willy Ripia, 9 Frae Wilson, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 Tanerau Latimer (captain), 6 Shane Christie, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Ben May.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Jacob Ellison, 18 Bronson Murray, 19 Romana Graham, 20 Nick Crosswell, 21 Jamieson Gibson-Park, 22 Jackson Willison, 23 Declan O'Donnell.