Ireland’s tour of New Zealand got off to a rather underwhelming start this morning as they were comprehensively beaten by the New Zealand Maori.
Led by scrumhalf Brad Weber the Maori were in complete control from the outset as the Irish made the cardinal sin of kicking loosely. This loose kicking opened Andy Farrell’s side up to the lethal counter attacking play of the Kiwis.
To further add insult to injury, experienced prop Cian Healy left the field on a cart as the Irish injury toll continues to mount ahead of the first test in Auckland on Saturday.
Despite both sides being experimental, the Maori looked far more cohesive than the visitors. Captain Weber was sensational as he managed his side around the park beautifully, giving the All Black selectors a nice headache as to who the back up to Aaron Smith will be.
Gavin Coombes was the real bright spark for the Irish, the hulking Munster number eight offered some real go forward when he entered the fray. His hard work was rewarded with a pick and go try that displayed the power he possesses close to the line.
As attentions turn to the first test, Andy Farrell might feel slightly underwhelmed by his back up options. Key however is that Joey Carbery got some much-needed game time, and he will likely back up Jonathan Sexton on Saturday.
In terms of impressive Irish performances, the three standouts were captain Bundee Aki, backrower Nick Timoney and the already mentioned Gavin Coombes.