Rugby NZ Māori outclassed in Suva, losing to Fiji for first time in 62 years

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Rugby NZ Māori coach Clayton McMillan has work to do after his side were well beaten by Fiji.

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NZ Māori coach Clayton McMillan has work to do after his side were well beaten by Fiji.

The New Zealand Māori rugby team have lost for just the second time in the past 16 years, outclassed by Fiji in Suva on Saturday in the first match of their two-game series.

Billed as a chance for some of those overlooked for the All Blacks squad to prove something of a point, it instead turned into a fixture to forget for the visitors, as an energised and spirited home side put them away 27-10 at ANZ Stadium, for their first win over them in 62 years.

The teams had met 29 times previously, with the Māori winning 20 of those and Fiji seven, along with two draws. However, Fiji’s last success wasn’t since 1957 – 17 games ago.

Rugby Fiji coach John McKee would have been delighted with his side's display.

STU FORSTER/GETTY IMAGES

Fiji coach John McKee would have been delighted with his side’s display.

That all changed thanks to a four-tries-to-two performance, where the hosts dominated proceedings from the outset, produced a whole heap of their trademark offloading flair, and physicality without the ball, building on a 12-0 halftime lead, snuffing out a late fight from the Māori.

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Fiji’s last international was their 21-14 upset of France in Paris last November, and they proved worthy of their world ranking of No 9 – a place ahead of Argentina – as they build for their World Cup tilt.

On the other side of the coin, the Māori display was error-ridden and lethargic, missing far too many first-up tackles, and resulted in only their second loss since 2003, having only be

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