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Spithill playing mind games with Team NZ

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/06/2017

Jimmy Spithill has resumed his role as chief tormentor of Team New Zealand at the America's Cup.

The Australian skipper raised the stakes in Bermuda on Sunday (NZT) with a withering critique of the Kiwi syndicate after beating them on the final day of the qualifying series.

It meant Team USA, who topped the standings, beat Team NZ in both of their races, prompting Spithill to land some psychological blows on opponents they may face in the Cup Match beginning in two weeks.

Errors from Team NZ cost them three penalties on Sunday, something not missed by Spithill.

"Both times we've raced Team NZ they've made some pretty fundamental mistakes - at the start line today, and then at the top mark again, just like the first time we lined up," he said.

It is four years since Spithill steered Team USA to their remarkable 9-8 comeback win over the Kiwis in the Cup Match at San Francisco.

He famously taunted the Kiwis at points during that regatta too.

With his team about to undergo a fortnight of testing and development while the challengers enter the knockout phase, Spithill was keen to make himself heard.

He questioned Team NZ's decision to forego a specialist tactician in their six-man crew. The role is shared between Burling, skipper Glenn Ashby and trimmer Blair Tuke.

"That's one thing that's powerful in the set-up on our boat, is that we've got a dedicated tactician in Tom Slingsby and Kyle Langford also involved," Spithill said.

"In there (Team NZ), they don't have any of that and you can hear that in their communication."

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