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Another special night in Thomond Park as Maori All Blacks overawed by Munster

The southern province scored four tries in a resounding victory in front a packed house in Limerick.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Munster 27

Maori All Blacks 14

THESE IRISH WINS over New Zealand teams are becoming more frequent.

Munster, as is their wont with touring sides, duly put another one to the sword at Thomond Park.

The frenetic, rain-soaked victory continued their great tradition against international sides and was achieved with virtually a second string side at the heaving Limerick venue.

And, like last week in Chicago, just when you expected the Irish to fold in the final quarter, Munster opened their shoulders and fashioned a four tries to two win.

Munster led 17 – 14 at the end of an entertaining first-half with the capacity crowd of 25,600 getting plenty of entertainment despite the wind and rain.

The fantastic tribute by the Maori All Blacks to the late Munster coach Anthony Foley set an excellent tone for the evening as both sides set out to play heads-up rugby.

The Maori All Blacks perform the Haka Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Munster were rewarded for going to touch with a try off a lineout drive with hooker Niall Scannell getting the touchdown. But the Maoris showed that they were capable of with two tries in a blistering three minute spell, starting with James Lowe sliding over after 24 minutes.

Otere Black converted and then the out-half set up winger Ambrose Curtis for an excellent try down the right, with Black converting for a 14-5 lead.

But Munster responded well and cut the gap to two points with a penalty try when Rory Scannell was hauled back without the ball by Reed Prinsep, with the Maori flanker picking up a yellow card in the process.

It got better for Munster when a superb turnover hit by Robin Copeland on fullback Marty McKenzie saw them counter from deep, with Darren Sweetnam twice hacking ahead to outpace Lowe to score and lead 17-14 at the break.

Darren O’Shea Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Ian Keatley landed a penalty four minutes after the restart to extend the lead and Munster then kept the Maoris scoreless while scrum-half Duncan Williams was in the bin for a high tackle.

The Munster pressure eventually paid off when Ronan O’Mahony, having earlier been denied for a double movement, raced through to score from a Duncan Williams chip. Keatley converted from the left to make it 27-14 with 12 minutes left and they never looked like conceding after that.

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Munster: Tries: N Scannell, D Sweetnam, R O’Mahony, penalty try. Cons: I Keatley (2). Pen: Keatley.

Maori All Blacks: Tries: J Lowe, A Curtis. Cons: O Black (2)

Munster: A Conway; D Sweetnam, J Taute (J Foley ’75), R Scannell, R O’Mahony (A Wootton ’75); I Keatley, D Williams; J Cronin (P McCabe ’25), N Scannell (R Marshall ’61), S Archer (B Scott ’73); J Madigan (S O’Connor ’59-‘61), D O’Shea; T O’Donnell, C Oliver, R Copeland.

Maori All Blacks: M McKenzie (J Emery ’63); A Curtis, M Proctor, T Bateman, J Lowe; O Black (I West ’58), B Guyton (B Weber ’48); K Hames (L Apisai ’71), A Dixon, B May (M Renata ’75); L Price (W Douglas ’48), J Skeen (Price ’58); R Prinsep, S Christie (K Pryor ’71), A Ioane.

Referee: C Maxwell Keys (England).

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‘They’re off winning Grand Slams and you’re off in f***ing Rotherham’

As it happened: Munster v Maori All Blacks

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John Fallon

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