Auckland. . . .44
BY THE end of this week English rugby will probably have seen quite enough of Kiwis showing how it should be done and in the freezing cold at the Memorial Ground last night Auckland chalked up another easy New Zealand victory.
Not that they should be confused with the Auckland, who beat the Lions in June, won the New Zealand National Championship in September, and held the Ranfurly Shield for eight years until Waikato took it off them in August.
To begin with, there are 10 Aucklanders on the All Blacks tour. Only two - Waisake Sotutu and Mark Carter - of the Lions-tamers played at Bristol and there are only another two - Jason Hewett and Brandon Jackson - in the touring party.
No matter. Auckland are quite happy to use their seven-match sweep through Scotland and England as a development exercise and if that brings the odd defeat, as it did when they lost to Scottish Districts, so be it, because some of these youngsters will be there into the 21st century. They finish off against West Hartlepool on Thursday and Wasps on Sunday.
Bristol, fielding seven of the first-teamers who lost at Wasps last Saturday, remained more competitive than the score suggested, though ultimately the game ran away from them.
Sotutu dismissively passed Dan Cottrell in scoring Auckland's first try, which Bristol answered when Ralph Knibbs put Matt Brain away and then converted before two penalties by Mark George put Auckland back in front.
In the meantime, the Memorial Ground's new electronic scoreboard had packed up along with part of the floodlighting. At half-time the lights were turned out altogether and the referee eventually led the players off.
The break did more for Auckland. With the lights back on, but no brighter than in the first half, Auckland struck immediately. Dylan Mika scored the next try after two minutes and Kevin Nepia followed after seven. Further tries by Carter and Martin Stanley and John Akurangi were embellishments Bristol perhaps did not deserve.
Bristol: Try Brain; Conversion Knibbs. Auckland: Tries Sotutu, Mika, Nepia, Carter, M Stanley, Akurangi; Conversions George 4; Penalties George 2.
Bristol: D Cottrell; D John, M Brain, R Knibbs, E Thillet; A Saverimutto, M Newall; P Smith, D Palmer, D Hinkins, P Adams, S Shaw (J Pearson, 34), R Armstrong, C Barrow, D Eves (capt).
Auckland: A Uluinayau; W Sotutu (G Patten, 44), M Stanley, C Adams, J Stanley; M George, O Tonu'u; K Nepia, R Nesdale, J Akurangi, J Chandler, H Bond, D Mika, P Lam (capt), M Carter.
Referee: A Spreadbury (Bath).
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