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19 Mar 2018 10:04
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Kiwis seek best of both worlds in RLWC

    The Kiwis have talked up an adventurous playing style leading into the Rugby League World Cup, but admit they need plenty of precision and accuracy too.

    - article from

    Kiwis assistant coach Brian Smith wants his side to have their cake and eat it too, playing both precise and adventurous rugby league.

    Smith's troops cruised to a 38-8 win over Toa Samoa in Saturday's Rugby League World Cup opener in Auckland, overpowering their opponents in the second half.

    But they didn't have it easy in the first stanza, as a powerful Samoan pack forced plenty of errors and penalties out of their esteemed opponents.

    New Zealand made 17 errors in total - at least five too many in the circumstances, according to Smith - and completed just 62 per cent of sets.

    But he wasn't willing to trade accuracy for flair.

    The Kiwis wouldn't win the World Cup unless they could achieve both.

    "We want the boys to play with a lot of precision despite the fact that, every time you pass the ball, there's some risk the other guy won't catch it," Smith said.

    "We know what we're on about, and have a lot of confidence our guys will be able to perform those skills under pressure when they have a bit more time and a look at each other this week on the video and (with) practice."

    The well-travelled Smith, who has coached various NRL and Super League clubs and worked across the international game, was appointed as David Kidwell's right-hand man in August and adds leadership to a green coaching group.

    At first glance, he felt the Kiwis had what it takes for Cup glory, despite an interrupted build-up and the continued strength of Australia.

    They'd blown out the cobwebs with their win over Toa Samoa.

    "We needed to tighten up a bit, work our way through the middle. The scoreline doesn't really reflect how big an effort I thought Samoa put into the game, it certainly took a lot out of our guys physically," Smith said.

    New Zealand's next match will take place against Scotland in Christchurch on Saturday, before a match-up with Jason Taumalolo's Tonga.


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