Maori All Blacks beat Canada in final test
The Maori All Blacks have completed their short tour of England with a 32-19 win over Canada on Friday night, UK time.
In a fairly flat game that contained plenty of niggle and two tries to the Maori All Blacks compared to one from Canada, it was the boot of Willie Ripia that amassed the most points, with 20 from eight successful kicks.
This victory, played in front of a packed crowd at the Oxford University ground, will mean this tour can be looked at in a positive light for the Jamie Joseph coached side, with only the first up loss to Leicester blotting their copybook.
Ripia kicked a penalty in the second minute, just after Maori All Blacks lock Romana Graham was forced to spend 10 minutes in the sinbin for putting in a head high tackle.
But the lack of Graham didn't deter the Maori All Blacks as Ripia goaled two more penalties inside the first 15 minutes.
The match evolved into a battle between the forwards as Canada depended heavily on a game plan of attacking close to the ruck and rarely giving their backline much to do.
But following a James Pritchard penalty for Canada, Andre Taylor broke through the Canadian defence for the opening try.
There were two further penalties for Pritchard and one for Ripia over the remainder of a half short of excitement, meaning the score was 19-9 to Maori All Blacks at the break.
Canada started the second half giving the ball some more air and they were almost immediately rewarded with another penalty from Pritchard.
Following Ripia's fifth penalty, Tim Bateman became the second Maori All Black to be shown a yellow card, again for a head high tackle.
But once more Canada couldn't make best use of having an extra player as Ripia kicked another penalty in the 59th minute.
Canada spent the next 15 minutes getting close to scoring, without ever achieving it, much to the frustration of their coach Kieran Crowley who was getting increasingly animated.
But the pressure finally counted for something in the 73rd minute when Ray Barkwell crashed over from close range.
However, any hope of a comeback evaporated when Charlie Ngatai scored the Mapori All Blacks' second try right at the death.
Maori All Blacks 32 (Andre Taylor, Charlie Ngatai tries; Willie Ripia 6 pens, 2 con) Canada 19 (Ray Barkwell try; James Pritchard 4 pens, Connor Braid con) HT: 19-9