Maori All Blacks game an occasion


I absolutely loved the whole occasion of our game with the Maori All Blacks on Tuesday night.

It was good to have a side like that at our ground and over 17,000 people came to Welford Road to support the fixture and created a cracking atmosphere.

The game was superb to play in with some good rugby from both sides and some tries right out of the top drawer.

George Ford kicked well for us and the 32-24 result was probably about a fair reflection of the game.

They don't lose many fixtures and someone told me their last defeat before Tuesday night was back in 2007.

That game was against the England Saxons and I was lucky enough to be playing on that night too.

I'll take a 2-0 record aganist a side like that!

A spell of five years without losing a game shows just what a big scalp theirs was for us. They may have only just started their tour but we had a dozen guys away on international duty too.

I suppose people who were there will remember the pre-game haka as much as anything that happened in the game.

Some of my mates who are not really into rugby were talking to me about the Maoris coming and when they realised the haka was going to be performed they started badgering me for free tickets!

It gets people excited and is a real talking point.

There's always that discussion about whether it gives the All Blacks an unfair advantage before kick-off. They are so good at the minute, it is tough to tell whether it gives them an advantage or not.

I love it and think it is great for the sport. If you are playing Test rugby and are getting intimidated by the haka, then maybe you shouldn't be playing Test rugby in the first place.

At Tigers, we had spoken in the build-up about the best way to approach it on the night. Some lads wanted to 'walk it down' and slowly walk towards them as they did it. Others wanted to just 'stare it down'.

We decided to stand and stare and we were determined to make sure that they moved away first.

They may have a big culture and tradition but it was at our home ground and we were mad up for it. We wanted them to leave Leicester thinking it was a tough place to go and play rugby. I like to think that we succeeded.

We were not going to take a backward step for the haka or for the game - both of which were full on.

It was a fantastic night.

See pictures from the game at this gallery

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Simon Cross said...

16 November 2012 19:07,

I was at HQ the day the Saxons beat the Maori. I'd never seen Tom Croft before that day and couldnt believe it when he out sprinted Hosea Gear to score the winner. We all got sunburned that day another Twickenham first.

Incredible success for the Tigers, you did Enflish rugby proud

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