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Kiwis were a woeful lot

By Gary Caffell

A couple of takes from international sporting fixtures over the weekend.

First, forget the inquests into why the Kiwis were thrashed by the Kangaroos in the Four Nations rugby league final at Anfield, Liverpool.

You can spend as much of your spare time as you like trying to come up with answers on how our boys could have been more competitive but nothing will alter one fact, they were outclassed by a side which was on another planet in terms of skills, collectively and individually.

I know it is always easier to be wise after the event but anybody with the slightest interest in rugby league should have seen this coming.

Even from afar it was patently obvious in the lead-up games that the Kiwis were struggling to get any continuity into their game, that the flair and adventure which had been such a part of previous successful Four Nations campaigns was sadly missing.

They weren’t quite a rabble but they were getting close.

It was a different story with the Kangaroos.

Watching them you always got the feeling they had something up their sleeves, that come the final they would be a mighty difficult beast to control.

In the end the Kiwis were probably fortunate to get away with a 34-8 scoreline after being down 24-0 at halftime.

Some will say the fewer points scored by the Kangaroos in the second half signified an improved effort by the New Zealanders over that period, others like myself will take the view that with the title in the bag the Aussies were more intent on defending their advantage than building on it.

Whichever side of that argument you are on, however, there can be no dispute that on this particular day the better team won, and that’s something no inquest will ever change.

Second, I don’t like to criticise match officials in any code because they have a difficult enough job to do without the media adding their tuppence’s worth but I’m going to make an exception here.

Having now watched television coverage of the All Blacks v Ireland rugby test in Dublin twice it’s my contention that the match officials were harsher on the ABs for offences which fall under the label of foul play.

The citings of Sam Cane and Malatai Fekitoa for alleged high tackles might well have been correct according to the rule of law but the Irish weren’t exactly angels when it came to misdemeanours of that kind either, and generally they escaped scot free.

Having said that I hasten to add that I am not in any way accusing the referee and linesmen of cheating.

Rather I am simply suggesting that there were times when their judgement calls were not as consistent as they might have been, and as luck would have it the ABs seemed to suffer most in that respect.

The AB’s will no doubt be pleased to get the test with France this Saturday behind them as they can then head home-or follow the sun elsewhere-for some well deserved rest and recreation.

One thing about France, they are seldom predictable, and also they have a habit of playing some of their best rugby against the AB’s.

Anybody imagining this will be a walk in the park for our boys might be wise to think again.

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