Ireland easily beat New Zealand Māori team in their second test. It was a complete turnaround from their first game.
Jordan Larmour’s second try on a wet and windy night in Wellington sealed a deserved 30-24 win for Ireland over the Māori All Blacks in their penultimate summer tour fixture.
Ireland’s first ever victory over the Māori side saw them draw the midweek series 1-1, avenging their 32-17 defeat from the opening game of the tour in Hamilton.
First-time captain Keith Earls’ quick thinking at a lineout sent Larmour over to cancel out a second-minute opener from Shaun Stevenson. The tourists pushed on to lead 17-5 at half-time.
Nick Timoney crossed from close range in the 32nd minute, adding to a Ciaran Frawley penalty, as Ireland’s pack made headway in difficult conditions with the likes of Kieran Treadwell, Timoney and Gavin Coombes all impressing.
Despite Frawley firing over a penalty early on the resumption, Larmour was soon in the sin bin – Cian Prendergast also saw yellow during the first half – with the winger’s early tackle in a try-scoring situation leading to a penalty try for the hosts.
Taking a leaf out of the Test team’s book, Ireland remained composed, upping the defensive pressure and forcing errors from the Māori All Blacks.
Ryan Baird provided impact off the bench, winning lineouts and a turnover penalty, and with possession snatched back close to the Māori line, number 8 Coombes proved unstoppable from a couple of metres out.
Elusive replacement Ruben Love took off on two terrific breaks during the closing stages, leading to a try for himself and a consolation effort from co-captain Brad Weber past the 80-minute mark.
In between, Ireland sandwiched in their fourth try in the 77th minute, a fizzing flat pass from the influential Stuart McCloskey sending Larmour over in the right corner to settle the issue.
It was a strong collective performance from the wider Irish squad, just three days on from the historic success against the All Blacks which squared up the Test series.
Finlay Bealham injured himself during the warm-up and was pulled from the bench, but former Leinster and Ireland prop Michael Bent stepped up in his absence and got on for the final few minutes.
The manner of the performance – with a number of young players improving from their first tour game – will have pleased Andy Farrell and the coaching staff, maintaining the winning momentum in camp ahead of that crucial third Test.