Tuesday, July 08, 2008

NZ Maori snatch Pacific Nations Cup from Australia A

NZ Maori snatch Pacific Nations Cup from Australia A

New Zealand Maori clinched the Pacific Nations Cup rugby championship with a match-winning try three minutes from time for a 21-18 win over Australia A in Sydney on Sunday.

Wellington Hurricanes flanker Thomas Waldrom's late try enabled the New Zealand Maori to leapfrog the previously-unbeaten Australia A on the final standings and claim the tournament by just one point after five rounds.

Full-back Mark Gerrard had the chance to draw the match in the final minute, which would have been enough for Australia A to claim the title, only for his 45-metre attempt to fall agonisingly short.

Former rugby league international centre Timana Tahu appeared to put Australia A within sight of victory with his second try of the match for an 18-14 lead with 20 minutes left.

But with seven minutes remaining, the Maori chanced their arm, throwing the ball from side to side, and aided by some ruck penalties awarded by Fijian referee James Bolabiu, the Kiwis were presented with a late chance to snatch the game.

Hurricanes centre Tamati Ellison found a gap on the left and passed inside to Waldrom who barged over between two defenders. Scrum-half Piri Weepu converted from wide out to put the Maori in front with just minutes to go.

It was the first appearance in the Pacific Nations Cup for the Maori, replacing the Junior All Blacks who romped to victory in the Cup's first two years.

Time: 05:52
Article: AFP

Posted by Rugbydump at 12:50 pm | View Comments (8)

Viewing 8 comments

el nino July 08, 2008 12:17 pm

good match , 2 high quality sides goin at it, mayb sum stars of the future on show

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Sharky July 08, 2008 1:45 pm

From what I saw, and heard, Timana Tahu was brilliant. He's been called up to the Aussie Tri Nations squad too, which is awesome for him considering what a quiet season he had for the Tah's. League convert btw, for those who don't know. Well done to the Maori side, but I can't help thinking that this tournament is meant to help and promote sides like Fiji, Tonga, Samoa & Japan. I cant see how having Australia A and the NZ Maori side helps that, IMO, especially when they seem to dominate. Not sure what the pacific islander guys out there think though? Maybe I'm wrong.

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Payno July 08, 2008 2:42 pm

some of the tackling was awful!looked like a good game though. well done the maori.

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nesianrugby July 08, 2008 3:33 pm

sharky - to compete with the best you have to play against them consistently. Exposure to playing Aus A and even the Maori is miles better than playing only Pacific teams and Japan year after year. Only downside for the competition is when the Pacific teams cannot get their top players released from European clubs for a long enough period to develop as a team. Rugby is not like football where you can organise a scratch side in a week and turn up for a test. On the flipside its great for local Tongans, Samoans and Fijians to have exposure to the higher level of competition even though they get beaten convincingly. If there was a global season ie. S14, Heineken Cup, Guiness Premiership etc played at the same time and then all internationals played at the same time it would mean every player eligible for international duty would be available at the same time for their teams to train together and build a culture and structure of play...not gonna happen though :(

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Bonzai July 08, 2008 7:07 pm

i tell you what that Tahu looks pretty good.

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bD July 08, 2008 8:35 pm

sorry to talk about a different topic but could you post steyns huge attempt at drop goal gainst new zealand? thanks

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stephanie July 08, 2008 10:02 pm

that thing about realise of players from european clubs, especially recently french clubs would be quite annoying, although there did seem to be a breakthrough star in the fiji team, cant remember if he was a winger of fullback. thats the crazy thing even with so many players missing there just seems to be an endless pool of flair and talent in fiji!tonga seemed to travel a bit downhill imo, maybe its because they didnt have maka but they didnt seem the side they were, especially at the world cup when they were running the like of SA hard till the end.

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Anonymous July 09, 2008 2:48 am

Mana Maori dooiittzzz!!

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