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Same players but Kiwis promise better

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/10/2016

The Kiwis are promising a tougher, more direct playing style when they face England in the Four Nations opener in Huddersfield.

Two weeks after losing 26-6 to Australia in a hesitant display in Perth, an unchanged New Zealand team are promising to unfurl a performance on Saturday more in keeping their rugged tradition.

The Kiwis pack failed to establish a consistent platform for halves Shaun Johnson and Thomas Leuluai in Perth.

Their fifth-tackle plays suffered while they were also guilty of over-using second-man plays which tended to drift into the shoulders of a grateful Kangaroos defensive line.

Assistant coach Willie Poching says some "deep discussions" followed between the players and coaching staff.

"We made some errors as coaches going into the Perth Test and we've had a good look and reflected on that," Poching said.

"We've tried to get some clarity about how we'd like to play the game."

The same starting side and bench have been retained from Perth, with Poching calling on all 17 players to bring more aggression at the collision.

However, to overcame a tough English pack they'll need to mix cleverness with brute force, with the latter a given in any Kiwis team, Poching said.

"We can't go too far away from that because that's in our DNA," he said.

"It works. Everyone who watches the Kiwis understands that's part of the make-up of how we play the game.

"But the English have their strength in their pack so we'll do some things in a way that will break up the opposition and cause them some problems."

Poching expects potential matchwinner Johnson to have a greater impact on New Zealand's attack, having been forced expend much of his energy tackling in Perth.

Kiwis: Jordan Kahu, Jason Nightingale, Solomone Kata, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Jordan Rapana, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Jesse Bromwich (capt), Issac Luke, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Kevin Proctor, Tohu Harris, Jason Taumalolo. Bench: Lewis Brown, Martin Taupau, Manu Ma'u, Adam Blair.

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