New Zealand Maori 9-23 England
England got their summer tour off to a winning start with a scrappy victory over the New Zealand Maori on Monday.
Wasps lock Simon Shaw touched down in a first half that was littered with errors and missed scoring opportunities at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth.
Andy Gomarsall pushed his claims for a place in Clive Woodward's Test side when he battled over the line in the last five minutes to put victory beyond doubt.
The Maori heaped pressure on England in their own half but they failed to find a way through the tourists' resolute defence.
England's win was enough to avenge their humiliating defeat at the hands of the Maori in 1998 but the nature of the revenge in difficult, rainy conditions was far from stylish.
Shaw was driven over by the sheer force of the powerful England pack in the ninth minute and Paul Grayson neatly stroked the conversion through the posts.
Flanker Joe Worsley was in fine form alongside his Wasps team-mate Shaw and in combination with the rest of the England eight they were more than a match for the physical Maori pack.
England skipper Phil Vickery was positive in his approach, opting to kick the ball into touch rather than attempting penalties.
New Zealand Maori 9
Pens: Jackson 3
Tries: Shaw Gomarsall
Cons: Grayson 2
Pens: Grayson 3
Although their lineouts were effective, England struggled to build enough momentum going forward as the home side held firm.
Maori fly-half Glen Jackson, who had got the first points of the match, grabbed another penalty to narrow the gap at the interval to 10- 6.
Grayson, standing in for regular fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, extended the advantage in the 43rd minute.
Although Jackson quickly pulled one back for the home side, flanker Troy Flavell was penalised for an indiscretion in the lineout to gift Grayson another three-pointer.
Gomarsall looked lively after replacing Kyran Bracken and he surged over from close range in the 75th minute.
Woodward used all seven of his replacements during the second period, but the
only injury concerns appeared to be full-back Iain Balshaw and centre Stuart
The win, while far from dazzling, will be enough to give Woodward renewed confidence as his side face the All Blacks on 14 June.
England: Balshaw, Luger, Noon, Abbott, Simpson-Daniel, Grayson,
Bracken, Woodman, West, Vickery, Shaw, Borthwick, Corry, Hazell,
Replacements: Regan, M. Worsley, Palmer, Volley, Gomarsall,
New Zealand Maori: Cullen, Maddock, Gear, Nicholas, Fleming,
G. Jackson, Gibson, Feek, McFarland, Hayman, Tito, Ormsby,
Flavell, Parkinson, Randell.
Replacements: Linklater, Manu, Robinson, Ormond, Haami, Walker,
Referee: Paddy O'Brien (New Zealand)