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Earls: Ireland's Kids Learned About 'Big Boy Rugby' Vs Maori All Blacks

12 July 2022; Joe McCarthy of Ireland in action against Isaia Walker-Leawere of Maori All Blacks during the match between the Maori All Blacks and Ireland at the Sky Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

By PJ Browne

Ireland defeated the Maori All Blacks 30-24 in Wellington on Tuesday, gaining revenge for the defeat in Hamilton earlier on the tour.

It was an entertaining game, featuring four tries each. Jordan Larmour twice touched down for Ireland, while Nick Timoney and Gavin Coombes also crossed the whitewash. The win gives Ireland further momentum heading into the weekend's third test against the All Blacks with the series tied at one game a piece.

"It was very pleasing," Ireland captain Keith Earls told Sky Sport NZ.

"At times, we didn't help ourselves. In the first game when we played the Maori, our discipline... A lot of young lads, good players, didn't know what it takes to play big boy rugby. Thankfully, we learned from a lot of mistakes. The discipline was still off a small bit. Thankfully, we got the job done.

"Conditions are quite windy here. It's not too dissimilar to Thomond Park. The various kickers on the team helping took pressure off our nines, and tens.

12 July 2022; Keith Earls of Ireland in action against Josh Ioane of Maori All Blacks during the match between the Maori All Blacks and Ireland at the Sky Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

"We knew that if we gave these guys time and space, nine times out of ten, they'll pick the right option, and will break a tackle. We knew our physicality had to be right up there with our discipline.

"It's a very proud moment for me getting to captain these lads. I toured with Ireland in 2017 with a lot of young lads; it's great to see a lot of them now as senior players. It was great to get out with these young lads, and see them do it on a big stage like this."

Maori All Blacks joint-captain TJ Perenara was disappointed by his side's failure to turn the chances they created into points.

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"We did create a lot of opportunities out there," said Perenara.

"That's probably what's most disappointing, that we didn't execute. The Irish were awesome. They created opportunities, took them, and punished us.

"TJ want to be part of a Maori team for a long time."

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See Also: Panicked New Zealand Media Reaction To Ireland's Victory Over All Blacks

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