Rugby Union: Auckland pass test set by Wasps

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The Independent Online
Wasps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

Auckland. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

SO IT was not quite an all black weekend after all for New Zealand, even if one Aucklander failed to go the full distance here yesterday in a pulsating match as his side wrapped up their seven-match British tour with a sixth win. Indeed, if this development team from Down Under is anything to go by, heaven help us in the future.

The fact that Dylan Mika was sent off three minutes into the second half for stamping only served to rouse the tourists to greater efforts.

Wasps, fielding virtually a full-works pack, never enjoyed a moment's respite.

On Friday night, Wasps had been mauled by the Argentinians from Rosario but as Graham Henry, the Auckland coach, put it: 'We saw this as our Test match.'

And he was not joking, his young charges ripping into Wasps on a bitter afternoon. 'We've had a bloody good tour,' Henry said, while Wasps could have been forgiven for mumbling something about bloody Sunday.

The Saints next Saturday could be a doddle compared to this, as Auckland rounded off with four superb tries to bring their total to 36 on tour with just nine against. The fact that Wasps totalled four of those says much for their determination not to take things lying down.

And lying down, as we know, is not the way to tackle any New Zealand side, and some of the rucking in this one was pretty fierce. Which brings us to Mika. Chris Oti had made a break and when he was halted, the 19-year-old flanker moved in. Up and down went his boots and the touch judge Lloyd Jackson attracted the referee's attention. Chas Muir had been unsighted but he had no hesitation in dismissing Mika, which looked rather harsh. 'He was just going for the ball and never touched the player,' Henry said, 'but let's just talk about the rugby.'

This was top class, with the scores level at the break after tries by the hard-running Kevin Nepia and Jeremy Stanley had been answered by the award of a penalty try, which Alan Buzza converted to go with an earlier penalty. Thereafter, Auckland's gallant XIV steamed in with two tries to three, while two long-range penalties from Mark George eventually made all the difference.

Wasps: Tries penalty try, Buzza, Clough, Skinner; Conversion Buzza; Penalty Buzza. Auckland: Tries Nepia, J Stanley, Uluinayau, Reichelman; Conversion George; Penalties George 2.

Wasps: A Buzza; N Greenstock, F Clough, L Scrase, C Oti; H Davies, M Skinner; G Holmes, K Dunn, J Probyn, R Kinsey, S Shortland, M Greenwood, D Ryan (capt), C Wilkins.

Auckland: A Uluinayau (G Patten, 65); J Stanley, M Stanley, C Adams, R Tailamietane; M George, J Tonu'u; K Nepia, R Nesdale, J Akurangi, H Bond, C Reichelman, D Mika, P Lam (capt), M Carter.

Referee: C Muir (Scottish RU).

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