Planet Rugby

Maori battle past Eagles

10th November 2013 06:29

Share:

Tim Bateman New Zealand Maori v Andrew Suniula USA Eagles

Two tries: Tim Bateman

The Maori All Blacks were forced to overturn a half-time deficit to claim their second win of their North American tour with a hard-fought 29-19 victory over the USA Eagles in Philadelphia on Saturday.

Two second-half tries from skipper Tim Bateman sparked the tourists into life after a lacklustre first half left them trailing 7-9 at the interval in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,500 people at PPL Park.

Energized from the fans' response to the Maori All Blacks' Haka with chants of "USA," the Eagles kept the All Blacks on their own side of the field in the opening minutes.

In the sixth minute, the Eagles conceded a penalty, giving the All Blacks a line-out with good field position following a kick to touch. Jamison Gibson-Park received the ball from a maul and juked the last defender to open the scoring. Robbie Robinson converted for the 7-0 lead.

The Eagles replied when captain Todd Clever stole a All Blacks' line-out and, a few phases later, drew a penalty. Full-back Adam Siddall stepped up for a 25-meter kick and sent it through the posts to diminish the deficit by three.

The Maori All Blacks showed their quality, breaking through the gain line well and keeping possession in contact. The speed of the visitors was combated by the Eagles' size and determination, which was rewarded just after the midpoint of the first half.

The Eagles drew another penalty at a ruck after a break by Peter Dahl and Siddall kicked his second penalty goal of the night to make the score 6-7.

Eagles number eight Cameron Dolan went close to scoring after intercepting a pass from full-back Robbie Robinson in broken plan. It took a determined covering tackle from the opposite wing by Kurt Baker to deny the Eagles the try.

The Eagles regained possession within 10 meters again as Nick Wallace showed his mobility with a sneaky run from a ruck at the 22 to put the Eagles within scoring range. Joe Wheeler was sent to the sin bin, giving the Eagles a man-up advantage for the final 10 minutes of the half.

The visitors won their own line-out and cleared it, but Siddall caught the ball and gained ground with a nifty run between defenders. After another phase, he received the ball again and broke another two tackles and set up a scrum for the Eagles. The Maori committed a subsequent penalty and Siddall gave the Eagles a 9-7 lead with a successful kick.

The halftime whistle came too soon for the Eagles, who were wearing down the visitors.

The Eagles relinquished the lead in the 44th minute after Bateman received a pass off of the switch and caught two Eagles on the wrong foot for a try between the sticks. Robinson kicked his second conversion to put the All Blacks back in front at 14-9.

The Maori All Blacks began to chip away at the Eagles with multiple phases not far from the try line, but hard work from players like Hume and Nick Wallace kept them from scoring. The All Blacks ended up committing a penalty with possession and the Eagles cleared.

In the 56th minute, Bateman scored his second of the match. The Eagles cleared a dangerous possession and the tourists decided to keep the ball in hand. They were rewarded by moving the ball wide and setting up Bateman to break through once again. Robinson kicked his conversion just wide to keep the Eagles within two scoring plays.

Following the try, it was the Eagles' turn to knock on the door. Multiple rucks were stuffed by the defenders, but another penalty gave the Eagles options. Clever opted for points and Siddall nailed a tough-angled kick for a 12-19 score line. Robinson kicked the Maori All Blacks' first penalty goal in the 69th minute to extend their lead to 22-12.

In the 73rd minute, the Eagles defence forced a turnover and - after being stuffed several more times on the wrong side of the try line - Dolan finished the play by dotting down to put the Eagles within three at 19-22.

With just four minutes remaining and the threat of their first loss in years a possibility, the All Blacks sealed their win through Luke Katene after an Eagles turnover.

The Eagles were one possession away from snatching victory from the Maori All Blacks, and the players' effort cannot be underscored.

"We gave it our all for 80 minutes and we came up short," said Man of the Match Dolan.

Even the New Zealand Maori All Blacks felt the game could have gone against them.

"It was a really tough win tonight," said Bateman,

"They brought what we expected. They're strong athletes. You look at Todd after the game with his kit off and bloodied; he was really indicative of the way they played. They put everything into it."

The city of Philadelphia impressed both sides with its hospitality and ability to host sporting events, with the Maori All Blacks having witnessed a 76ers game the week leading up to the match.

"[Philadelphia] is just so good at entertaining," New Zealand Maori All Blacks Head Coach Colin Cooper said. "I've been all over the world and the USA's ability to entertain and get people packed in is outstanding. I think the USA really brought it. If we hadn't the spirit that we had, we would have lost the game."

"Coming here in front of a packed crowd with the chant of 'USA' really helped us out," Clever said.

"Any time you get a sold-out in the United States for rugby it's a phenomenal honor," Dolan said.

The scorers:

For USA:
Try: Dolan
Con: Siddal
Pens: Siddal 4

For Maori All Blacks:
Tries: Gibson-Park, Bateman 2, Katene
Cons: Robinson 2
Pen: Robinson

USA: 15 Adam Siddal, 14 Luke Hume, 13 Seamus Kelly, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 Tim Maupin, 10 Toby L'Estrange, 9 Mike Petri, 8 Cameron Dolan, 7 Peter Dahl, 6 Todd Clever (c), 5 Tai Tuisamoa, 4 Scott LaValla, 3 Shawn Pittman, 2 Phil Thiel, 1 Nick Wallace.
Replacements: 16 Zach Fenoglio, 17 Titi Lamositele, 18 Olive Kilifi, 19 Graham Harriman, 20 Kyle Sumsion, 21 Shaun Davies, 22 Zach Pangelinan, 23 Folau Niua

Maori All Blacks: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Kurt Baker, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Tim Bateman (capt), 11 Matt Proctor, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Shane Christie, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Joe Royal, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Nick Barrett, 19 Luke Katene, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Jackson Willison, 23 Zac Guildford.

Venue: PPL Park, Philadelphia
Referee: Chris Assmus (Canada)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821