29 Oct 2016

Onus on Kiwis forwards to perform against England

4:30 pm on 29 October 2016

The onus is on the Kiwis forwards to perform in Sunday morning's Four Nations rugby league Test against England in Huddersfield.

Both teams will be looking to start the tournament with a win and join Australia at the top of the standings, after the Kangaroos thumped Scotland 54-12 in the opening match on Saturday morning.

Kevin Proctor scores for the Kiwis 2016.

Kiwis forward Kevin Proctor scoring against Australia in 2016 Perth Test Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The defending champion Kiwis are coming off a 26-6 loss to the Kangaroos in a one-off Test in Perth two weeks ago, where the backs were forced to do a lot of the forwards' work and carry the ball early in the New Zealand sets.

Halfback Shaun Johnson's wings have been clipped somewhat in recent games as he's a marked man by the opposition, while five-eighth Thomas Leuluai had to do a lot of the grunt work up front in Perth.

Kiwis assistant coach Willie Poching said they've worked on that in training and their game plan on Sunday will allow their halves - particularly Johnson - to run the ball more if they execute it properly.

Shaun Johnson is hopeful he can reproduce the form that helped the Kiwis beat the Kanagaroos, when the Warriors play Cronulla.

Shaun Johnson in action for the Kiwis. Photo: Photosport

"We've seen the impact that he (Johnson) has when his pack is going forward and our blokes understand they've got to work on some of that and try and get that going for him," Poching said.

"To do that they've got to really roll their sleeves up, be at their aggressive best and you know, they want to see Shaun be at his best, they want to see Tommy [Leuluai] being able to run into space and create opportunities for his outside men.

"It'll start and finish with those big guys and they understand that."

Kiwis captain and prop Jesse Bromwich said they're expecting to be challenged right across the park by hosts England.

But he said he believes the match will be won or lost among the forwards.

Kiwis captain Jesse Bromwich

Kiwis captain Jesse Bromwich Photo: Photosport

"It'll be really tough tomorrow," Bromwich said.

"I think their outside backs are really strong but for me, their big forwards are going to be a big ask for our middle so, we've had a little look at them but obviously it's a big challenge so we've got to turn up tomorrow with the right attitude."

It's been more than a decade since New Zealand won a series or tournament in England, with their shock 2005 Tri Nations win over Australia their last title win in the United Kingdom.

Kiwis prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves said as a result, they're treating every match of the tournament as a must-win Test.

"We've spoken about it being a decade since we have had success here and Dave Kidwell has come in with an attitude and a mindset of us being successful whilst we're here and we'll start by hopefully doing it well on Saturday afternoon," Waerea-Hargreaves said.

The match kick's off in front of a sold-out Huddersfield crowd at 2.30am (NZ Time)


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