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Kiwis want to sidestep trend of upsets

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/11/2016

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Jordan Kahu of New Zealand Kiwis kicks a conversion during the Four Nations match between the England and New Zealand Kiwis at the John Smith's Stadium on October 29, 2016 in Huddersfield, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images) © Tony Marshall/Getty Images HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Jordan Kahu of New Zealand Kiwis kicks a conversion during the Four Nations match between the England and New Zealand Kiwis at the John Smith's Stadium on October 29, 2016 in Huddersfield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images) The Kiwis are anxious they don't became the latest victims in a worldwide surge of sporting and political upsets.

Heavily favoured to beat winless Scotland in their Four Nations Test in Workington on Friday, New Zealand are taking nothing for granted.

A win by 42 points would guarantee a place in next week's final in Liverpool, regardless the result of the match between England and Australia on Sunday.

However, players and management alike insist that isn't part of their thinking.

Scotland were outclassed 54-12 by the Kangaroos but the scored the first two tries in an improved 38-12 loss to England last week.

Assistant coach Justin Morgan pointed to upsets that have dotted the headlines in 2016, most recently the All Blacks' historic loss to Ireland last week followed by Donald Trump's ascension to the US presidency.

"On paper we look like a stronger rugby league team but we certainly don't want to add to the upsets that have been happening this year, with the US election, the Premier League (won by Leicester City) over here and Western Bulldogs winning the AFL," Australian Morgan said.

"We want to make sure the favourites get through on Friday night.

"Winning is the number one priority, everything else takes care of itself."

A win by less than 30 points will leave New Zealand prone to missing out on the final if England upset Australia at London's Olympic Stadium. In that situation, a big English win would be New Zealand's only lifeline, eliminating Australia.

Morgan said a Kiwis side featuring four uncapped players, including starting winger David Fusitu'a, had a short-term focus only.

"There has been no talk about points differential. Scotland are a good side and they've built over the tournament.

"Anyone who saw the first 25 minutes of their game against England will certainly say Scotland were the better side."

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