June 25 1910
NZ Maori win test match curtain-raiser.
In a match played as a curtain-raiser to the 1910 Australia v New Zealand test match (the first of a three match series, won 6 – 0 by the All Blacks) the New Zealand Maori side fought back after being down 11 – 0 at halftime to defeat American Universities 14 – 11.
In recent years it has not been unusual for major matches to be preceded by an minor international curtain-raiser e g at age group, secondary school or women’s rugby level. But in 1910 such a match was at least unusual, possibly unprecedented.
“MAORIS v. AMERICA.
WIN FOR THE NATIVES BY 14 TO 11
(Received 4.58 p.m.) SYDNEY, June 26.
The Maori-American University match which was played as a curtain-raiser to the big engagement between New Zealand and Australia, was an interesting and exciting contest. The American played with the usual vim and with improved tactics, and found their opponents perfectly willing to make the pace fast. The Americans did all the scoring in the first spell, which ended 11 to nil.
The Maoris roused themselves in the second half, and their better knowledge of the finer points of the game again told, with the match finishing with the scores Maoris, 14 points; America, 11. Harrison, Hall, Paratene, and Piki scored tries. Takarangi converted one.”
Note: NZRU records show the Maori try scorers as H Harrison (2), J H Hall and M Paratene.
New Zealand Maori and the American Universities teams met again two days later, also at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with the Maori winning again, 21 – 3.
Later in the season the American Universities side played six matches in New Zealand, beating a Rotorua XV, drawing with Auckland but losing to Wellington, Otago, Canterbury and Wanganui.