New Zealand. . .18
NEW ZEALAND went a small way to lifting the gloom from their tour with an improved second-half display that brought them their fourth win over club opposition last night.
The enterprising running of Stuart Spruce from full-back was the difference between the two sides in a scrappy, occasionally ill-tempered first half at Naughton Park.
It was Spruce's early run which stretched the Kiwis to produce a third-minute try. David Ruane's break did further damage and Christian Tyrer, the young reserve stand-off called up because of injury, finished off the move, Bobby Goulding adding the goal.
Spruce's sorties and the power of Esene Faimalo and Rod Howe in the Widnes pack made them the more dangerous side, but Logan Edwards scored in one of the rare flashes of incisive rugby from the Kiwis.
David Lomax's break and Gene Ngamu's pass opened up the Widnes flank but Goulding and Ruane succeeded in turning Edwards on to his back to deny him.
The other two Edwardses, Peter and Morvin, combined to go close before half-time, but this was another disappointing display to follow New Zealand's loss of the Test series last weekend.
Aaron Whittaker, the surprise scrum-half selection for the third Test, showed his ability after the break with a run that opened up the defence and allowed John Lomax to send in Logan Edwards, Daryl Halligan landing the equalising points.
The profitable routine of Goulding kicking to David Myers' wing paid off again to restore Widnes' lead.
Jason Lowrie soon hit back, picking up a loose ball to score, Halligan's conversion putting the tourists ahead for the first time.
Halligan then stretched the lead with a try, although Widnes believed they had forced him into touch. He compounded the damage with a touchline goal.
Widnes: Spruce; Myers, Ruane, Hammond (Hunter, 70), Hadley; Tyrer, Goulding; Ireland (Harris, 77), McCurrie, Howe, Faimalo, Grieve (D Smith, 48), D Hulme.
New Zealand: P Edwards; Halligan, Taewa, M Edwards, Donnelly; Ngamu, Whittaker (Nixon, 45); Lowrie, L Edwards, Johnson (Harding, 70), Angell (Pongia, 48, Paul, 76), J Lomax , D Lomax.
Referee: I Ollerton (Wigan).Reuse content