New Zealand spent much of their game against Great Britain on the back foot, largely through their own ill-discipline, yet still managed to come away with a narrow win in a fiercely fought match 12-8 at Eden Park today.
In the sixth minute of the game, Kieran Foran made a seemingly innocuous tackle around James Graham's legs and came away with a dislocated shoulder. A minute later the Kiwi's received a penalty and Jamayne Isaako landed a penalty goal to give the Kiwi's a 2-0 lead.
Nine minutes later, Gareth Widdop levelled the scores after New Zealand was penalised for holding down too long in the tackle.
Much of the first half saw both sides playing very restricted football, neither side showing much interest in playing expansive football, opting instead to playing the game through the middle of the field.
On the stroke of halftime, Joseph Manu made a break down the right sideline, passed inside to Benji Marshall, who then passed the ball back behind himself, but it went to ground. Manu was unable to regather cleanly and that saw the first half end with the scores locked at 2 all.
New Zealand were the first side to score a try, 8 minutes after the resumption of play when Roger Tuivasa-Sheck made a break, took on Jonny Lomax, who effected the tackle, but not before Tuivasa-Sheck flicked a pass out to Manu who caught the high ball and raced away to score in the right corner. Isaako failed to convert from out wide.
Two minutes later, it looked like Briton Nikora may have scored after a poor grubber by Benji Marshall, however the Bunker found he had made a small knock on.
Three minutes later the Bunker was called upon again, this time after Corey Harawira-Naera forced his way over the line, despite the attention of three defenders. The on-field referee Chris Kendall ruled no try, but the Bunker ruled otherwise. Isaako converted from almost in front.
A fired up 5 minute period saw a pair of scuffles take place. In the 68th minute, after the dust had settled, Ryan Hall was hit high by Marshall as he made his way to the tryline. From the penalty Daryl Clark took a crash ball into the Kiwi's goal line defence and then managed to force his way to score a strong try. Widdop converted.
With just 3 minutes remaining, the Lions very nearly levelled the scores when Jermaine McGillvary dived to score in the corner, however the Bunker found that he lost the ball just inches before he got to the line.
New Zealand hung on to win a tough battle 12-8.