NZ Maori grind out tough victory over Fiji

Fiji blew a big halftime lead to lose to the Maori All Blacks by a single point this afternoon in Suva.

(Photo credit: Mediaworks via Google Images) 

Ending 27-26, Fiji dominated proceedings in the first half and were unlucky to not break a 50-year drought against the Maori All Blacks.

Superior at the breakdown, Fiji held more possession, scoring two tries to one in the first half to head into the sheds with a double-digit lead.

The Maori All Blacks trailed in a similar fashion to Japan the last time out, and history began to repeat itself this afternoon.

Damian McKenzie stepped on the inside and stepped his way to the line to score his first international try in his debut outing as the comeback began.

Fiji began slipping off tackles and made some simple handling errors during the fight back from the Maori.

Elliot Dixon continued his successful week in rugby, powering off the back of the ruck to score late in the game.

Otere Black slotted the conversion to give the Maori All Blacks the lead with little over ten minutes to play.

Charlie Ngatai had a quiet game by his standards as captain, but had the final say in the match, booting the ball into touch to end the match.

It is a win for the NZ Maori, but for much of the match they looked like losing their first game in 12 years, and Fiji will be devastated to lose when they looked the better side for much of the game.

The Maori All Blacks will head back to New Zealand for a game against the Barbarians next weekend.

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