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13 Dec 2017 8:57
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Smith compares Kangaroos defence to haka

    Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has lashed out at his team after what he described as their worst training session during the Rugby League World Cup.

    - article from

    The Kangaroos are taking their World Cup defence literally.

    The reigning champions enter Friday's Rugby League World Cup semi-final against Fiji without their defensive line being breached for the past 217 minutes of the tournament.

    Skipper Cameron Smith compared it to their 2013 triumph, when they held out opposition teams for the final 404 minutes on their way to global supremacy.

    This time around the No.1-ranked nation have conceded 10 points all tournament, and Smith believed his men haven't been recognised enough for their efforts.

    "That's quite a special effort. There hasn't really been too much said about it but that's OK with us, we're quite happy with where we're at," Smith said.

    "I spoke to the guys about our campaign in 2013 and that side in the World Cup in the UK. I think we conceded two points in the last four matches that we played in that tournament.

    "In the end that's what wins the big games, defence."

    Smith even went as far as proclaiming their defensive pride was their show of passion, comparing it to New Zealand's haka and the cultural performances of the Pacific nations.

    "You look at a lot of other nations, you see the pride in their jersey and the way they play through different styles," he said.

    "They have war cries, they have hakas but, I'd like to think that you see the style of play that we play with and the way we defend, that's the pride in our jersey and the pride in our team."

    Smith's comments come as coach Mal Meninga demanded improvement after what he described as their "worst" training session of the tournament this week.

    "It's been a bit clunky. I wasn't real happy with our session the other day. It's something we need to improve on," Meninga said.

    "We're heading in the right direction but it was probably our worst training session on Tuesday.

    "We're tracking really well and the players have been performing fantastically well.

    "Sometimes you have those sort of sessions so it's just a bit of a reality check to get back on track."

    Meninga had predicted a flat spot would hit his squad after a taxing week in the heat and humidity of Darwin, where players lost up to three kilograms in their quarter-final win.

    "It's come to fruition, but I'm thinking their pretty fresh today and we'll get a bit of an idea and mark on how well we train today," he said.

    "We're at the back of the Darwin trip. They did extremely well through all that with our plan around the heat and humidity.

    "Getting through that and the recovery, it takes a bit out of you."

    © 2017 NZN, NZCity

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