James Mortimer 15.Nov.2012Getty Images
The Maori All Blacks had conquered all comers, defeating Test nations, as well as the British and Irish Lions.
In the 2010 Sealord Series the Maori All Blacks defeated Ireland and England, and have conquered Scotland, Argentina, with their recent ledger continuing the tradition from former coach Matt Te Pou where he fashioned a 35 from 40 run with the famous side.
However England’s most decorated club came to the party and put in a command performance to defeat the tourists 32-24.
It was the Maori All Blacks second defeat in 23 matches.
While the Tigers were missing some players to international duty, young first five-eighth George Ford, Toby Flood’s understudy, was the hero as he kicked over eight from ten to collect a personal tally of 22 points.
Six of those kicks came directly from Maori All Black penalties, including the sinbinning of back Andre Taylor and forward Jarrad Hoeata.
But Welford Road and the Tigers have developed a handy reputation for being giant killers, and 17,000 Leicester faithful watched their team wrack up a healthy lead early (ahead 19 points in the first half hour), and then hold on despite a ferocious Maori All Blacks comeback.
Some of the Maori All Blacks tries were sublime, but the handling errors and mistakes were not indicative of a side usually comfortable with playing adlib style rugby, but were perhaps a spill off effect of having eleven debutants in the match day 22.
There were also four capped All Blacks in the team, but despite this the Tigers victory signalled a rare and impromptu trifecta for English clubs in recent days.
Fiji and Tonga are also touring and played midweek matches, both losing to Aviva Premiership outfits like the Maori All Blacks.
Newcastle defeated Tonga 24-13, but the side looked tired at times backing up from a weekend’s test match against the Italians, while Gloucester beat Fiji 31-29.
The Maori All Blacks next match is against a RFU Championship XV in Doncaster on Sunday (NZ time).