Report | Ireland fall to the Maori All-Blacks in first game of the Summer Series

Andy Farrell’s Ireland lose out to the Maori All-Blacks after a first half blitz pushed the game out of the hands of the touring side.

The beginning of Ireland’s summer tour of New Zealand is off to a rocky start. The Maori’s found themselves dominating the proceedings in the first half that opened a gulf in scoring to wide to overcome in the second half.

Captain Bundee Aki and Gavin Coombes both touched down, with the latter’s 66th-minute effort proving to be the only score of the closing half.

Injuries to James Hume and Cian Healy compounded the disappointing start to the summer tour for Ireland as they lost 32-17 to the Māori All Blacks in Hamilton.

Leading 10-8, a combination of Irish penalties and turnovers – both expected given the short preparation time for this largely inexperienced side – gave the Māori the platform to show their attacking class.

The hosts’ counter-attacking was particularly impressive, out-half Josh Ioane, who kicked 12 points, darting through from deep to send Shaun Stevenson over in the 28th minute.

Co-captain Brad Weber and Cullen Grace followed up with two more converted tries, the second one coming from a brilliant Stevenson-inspired break and good work by Billy Harmon in supplying the assist.

Having leaked 24 unanswered points, Ireland rallied on the restart and their improved play produced a handful of close-range opportunities which they failed to take.

Number 8 Coombes, arguably Ireland’s best player, deservedly crossed with Healy on the latch. Despite some further promising passages of play, those injuries and individual errors made for a frustrating finish.

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