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Maori All Blacks finish tour with win over Harlequins

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Lynn McConnell     17 Nov 2016     Getty Images

It was just as well as Harlequins regrouped and proved a much more solid defensive unit in the second half and denied the Maori All Blacks any extension of their first-half points.

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Once coping with the initial onslaught of the home team, and getting a regular supply of the ball, the Maori All Blacks were quick to make their presence felt.

Local first five-eighths Tim Swiel had opened the scoring with a penalty goal but the Maori ability to use their set-piece to effect saw them go on a try-scoring spree in the second quarter.

An key thrust in that approach came from fullback James Lowe who was constantly looking to get into the line.

Lowe scored his first try from a lineout penalty which saw second five-eighths Tim Bateman link with flanker Whetu Douglas and centre Matt Proctor before Lowe crossed in the 15th minute.

Three minutes later a simple backline movement created room on the outside and Lowe finished off the try.

A superb midfield break by Proctor threatened to see him complete a dazzling solo try, but he was tackled just short of the line but was able to recover and find halfback Brad Weber in support and outside him flanker Shane Christie stormed into the line to score in the 22nd minute.
Then three minutes later first five-eighths Ihaia West took a gap and pass to lock Leighton Price. Lowe was in the action again to take Price's pass before fellow lock Tom Franklin, Bateman and Christie all handled as the final pass went to left wing Sean Wainui who scored and saw the Maori go to half-time with a 26-3 lead.

Solid work up front during the first 10 minutes of the second half brought its reward for Harlequins after a series of penalties were conceded by the Maori out from their goal-line. A good drive resulted in prop Dan Murphy being driven over the line and after TMO consultation the try was awarded.

Enjoying more consistent possession during the second half, and turning over some Maori ball, Harlequins were able to stem the continuity play of the visitors. Former Hawke's Bay loose forward George Ngaoupu had an outstanding game with ball in hand, and his contest with Maori No.8 Akira Ioane was a feature of the game, while lock Stan South also impressed with his general play for the home team.

Their defence tightened and the Maori were forced to muscle their way through rather than glide at speed that had served them so well during the first half. And it was the Harlequins who finished the game hot on attack with a driving maul being held up just short of the line.

Scorers: Harlequins 10 (Dan Murphy try; Tim Swiel con, pen) Maori All Blacks 26 (James Lowe 2, Shane Christie, Sean Wainui tries; Ihaia West 3 con). HT: 3-26