Stags show resolve to defeat New Zealanders
PUBLISHED: 11:47 26 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 06 May 2010
London New Zealand 20 Stevenage Town 24 Stags held their nerve to take the points from the exiled Kiwis. They were stretched to the limit in the first half by a well prepared London New Zealand side, bolstered by recent arrivals for the England internatio
London New Zealand 20 Stevenage Town 24
Stags held their nerve to take the points from the exiled Kiwis.
They were stretched to the limit in the first half by a well prepared London New Zealand side, bolstered by recent arrivals for the England international next week.
Although good possession for the Stags was secured in the dominant scrum and lineout, the Kiwis secured turnover ball and used it efficiently to open the score with a try through their centres.
Stags replied with what would become their saving grace, the scrummage, with Gareth Roberts touching down for the pushover try.
The visitors had to reorganise as scrum-half Gary Trewartha went to hospital with a dislocated finger, with Ian Crompton taking over, and Ian Cutts going to the wing.
The Kiwis took the opportunity to strike as Stags were unsettled in their new form, with gaps appearing and a try soon beckoned for their wing, which was converted.
A penalty kick soon followed from the restart and Town looked in disarray and found it difficult to find their rhythm.
A series of misdemeanours at the tackle zone gifted the Kiwis more penalties as they looked to strike from a rolling maul.
This resulted in their loose head prop crashing over for a try and end the first half with Stags staring down the barrel of a 20-5 deficit.
As in previous encounters, stirring words from coach Terry Penny and captain Neil Bamber seemed to lift the Stags.
Aggression and sheer passion were the order of this half as the forwards pummelled their way up the park to be rewarded with a scrum 15m out.
Champagne rugby was put on hold as the formidable scrum stormed the opposition to submission and presented Roberts with another pushover try.
Centre Peter Smith found space splitting the defence before getting caught and passing to Gareth Lewis who then presented quick ball to speedster Mickey Wilson on the wing who looked destined to score before being clothes-lined by the Kiwis winger.
A penalty was taken by Lewis who tested and drew the defence, before passing to Smith then Cutts, who stepped inside and linked to a rampaging Roberts out wide who scored out wide. The conversion was slotted over by Lewis.
Crompton had a try ruled out for a double movement. At the penalty the Kiwis were too eager to follow the kick and were called offside.
Captain Bamber opted for the scrum - five metres out - and the try was inevitable and Roberts scored on behalf of an heroic pack. With the lead clinched, Lewis added to the Kiwis misery with the conversion.
Stags stood resolute and defiant to end a memorable second half.
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