There were contrasting fortunes for the eight New Zealanders in the thick of Six Nations action over the weekend.
Wing Sean Maitland and prop Simon Berghan tasted 32-26 victory for Scotland over France at Murrayfield. Maitland finished a well-worked team movement for his seventh try in 31 tests to open the home side’s account, while Christchurch-born tighthead Berghan played well in his sixth test after being called up by Gregor Townsend.
Gareth Anscombe, a late replacement for Leigh Halfpenny with Wales versus England, was elusive for Wales and probably their best back from fullback. Hadleigh Parkes was not quite as influential as in the win over Scotland, and his attacking game was often restricted to grubbers in behind the pressing England defence.
England hooker Dylan Hartley was in the wars, off for an early HIA, and then bleeding for the cause before his 52nd-minute exit.
Bundee Aki was probing for Ireland in its shellacking of Italy. He enjoyed the extra space afforded and scored his first try for his adopted country from close range, a la George Moala.
Dean Budd was at lock for Italy, while Jayden Hayward came off the Azzurri bench to lay on a nice try for Matteo Minozzi.
In the Aviva Premiership, Thomas Waldrom, who will be homeward-bound in June, tasted a rare 6-5 defeat for Exeter against the Worcester of Bryce Heem and Jackson Willison.
Saracens were too good, 25-3, for Newcastle, who fielded Nili Latu, Tane Takalua and Sinoti Sinoti. The latter incurred a yellow card.
Bath, with James Wilson, Kahn Fotuali’i and Paul Grant in the ranks, dispatched Northampton 32-9. Piers Francis kicked three goals for the Saints, while Ahsee Tuala, Ken Pisi, Teimana Harrison and Nafi Tuitavake all appeared.
Gloucester moved into the top four after defeating Leicester 24-17. The Kiwi sextet for the west country club was Jason Woodward, Tom Marshall, Willi Heinz, Josh Hohneck, John Afoa and Motu Matu’u. The Tigers included Telusa Veainu, Mike FitzGerald, Brendon O’Connor and Logovi’i Mulipola, who was sin-binned.
Bryn Evans and Halani Aulika tasted a 13-9 win at London Irish, who featured James Marshall, Ben Franks, Filo Paulo and Blair Cowan.
Jimmy Gopperth and Nathan Hughes both returned via the bench in Wasps’ 44-22 win over Harlequins, whose Kiwis were Alofa Alofa, Mat Luamanu and Jono Kitto.
In the Guinness PRO14, one of the highlights was a hat-trick to former Bay of Plenty wing Monty Ioane in Treviso’s 22-12 upset over Johnny McNicholl’s depleted Scarlets. Hame Faiva, Whetu Douglas and Marty Banks were in the trenches alongside Ioane.
Former North Harbour No 8 Jimmy Tuivaiti, husband of Silver Ferns shooter Cat Tuivaiti, was at No 8 for Zebre in the 33-5 loss to Munster.
Jordan Lay and John Hardie, back from a three-month ban, played for Edinburgh in the 29-24 defeat of Leinster, who fielded Jamison Gibson-Park and Michael Bent.
Ulster hammered Southern Kings 59-10, helped by Charlie Piutau, Sean Reidy and Rodney Ah You. Nick Williams and Rey Lee-Lo scored tries in Cardiff Blues’ 25-20 win over the Cheetahs.
Pita Ahki, Naulia Dawai, Tom McCartney and Dominic Robertson-McCoy all played for Connacht in the 26-15 win over Ospreys, for whom Kieron Fonotia and Ma’afu Fia appeared.
The French Top 14 resumes this weekend.
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