Barbarians outplay Maori to win comfortably as Cory Jane limps off at Eden Park.
The Barbarians strolled to a well-deserved 34-17 victory against New Zealand Maori at Eden Park on Saturday.
Potential All Blacks selection hovered over the game with 10 All-blacks spread across both sides hoping to impress selectors.
The Maori went into the game with a record of 19 consecutive wins, making the Barbarians the first side to overcome them since 2003, scoring five tries as they did so through Black Gibson, Mitchell Drummond, Seta Tamanivalu, Patrick Osbourne and Tom Taylor.
Despite a lack of possession and territory the Moari were able to score two tries themselves through Damian McKenzie and Cody Rei.
Two Baabaas who particularly impressed were Dominic Bird, who looked extremely strong with the ball in hand, and Skipper Brad Shields as they both from start to finish put in a ton of work both in attack and defence.
However, there was some bad news for the All-blacks as Cory Jane, who has just returned from injury, limped off after the break with a sprained ankle after initially impressing in the first half.
Early in the game Taylor and Marty Mckenzie traded penalties as both sides endeavoured, but lacked execution, in the opening exchanges.
However, the Barbarians’ then got on top, dominating territory 97 to three after twenty minutes, and eventually got the breakthrough when Black Gibson went over from the tap after 24 minutes.
Four minutes later the lead was extended further as Mitchell Drummond stepped inside and darted over the line to the left of the posts. This time Taylor converted to give the Baabaas a 12-point lead, which they would hold until half time.
After the break, the Maori appeared more patient, building steadily until Marty McKenzie played in his brother Damian, who shot through a gap to touch down. And Marty kept his composure to convert, 10-15.
But the comeback was thwarted when Seta Tamanivalu brushed off a few tackles to aquaplane across the whitewash following a well-worked move out to the right after 57 minutes, with Taylor adding the extras again.
And the game was essentially over three minutes later when Patrick Osbourne used his power to barge over for try number four, 10-27.
Codey Rei then managed to ground the ball for the Maori but the fantastic Barbarians’ had the final say when Richard Buckman superbly offloaded to the superb Taylor, who scored in the corner, before adding the extras himself, 17-34.
Man of the match
Throughout the game Dominic Bird bullied the Maori defence with his great size and immense power. He proved to anyone watching that he could come into the All-black side and do the business. You would expect he might feature at some point in The Rugby Championship after this performance.
Maori All Blacks: 1. Joe Moody, 2. Ash Dixon, 3. Brendon Edmonds, 4. Joe Wheeler, 5. Hayden Triggs, 6. Blade Thompson, 7. Mitchell Crosswell, 8. Elliot Dixon, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 10. Marty McKenzie, 11. Matt Proctor, 12. Charlie Ngatai, 13. Sean Wainui, 14. Rieko Ioane, 15. Damian McKenzie.
Replacements: 16. Quentin MacDonald, 17. Joe Royal, 18. Marcel Renata, 19. Akira Ioane, 20. Joe Edwards, 21. Brad Weber, 22. Otere Black, 23. Codey Rei.
NZ Barbarians: 1. Mitchell Graham, 2. Liam Coltman, 3. Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 4. Alex Ainley, 5. Dominic Bird, 6. Brad Shields (C), 7. Blake Gibson, 8. Luke Whitelock, 9. Mitchell Drummond, 10. Tom Taylor (VC), 11. Patrick Osborne, 12. George Moala, 13. Seta Tamanivalu, 14. Cory Jane, 15. Andrew Horrell.Replacements: 16. James Parsons, 17. Reg Goodes, 18. Ben Tameifuna, 19. Mark Reddish, 20. Jordan Taufua, 21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22. Ihaia West, 23. Richard Buckman.