NZ to target wingers in Tri-Nations game - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NZ to target wingers in Tri-Nations game

By Steve Jancetic 13/10/2005 08:18:16 PM Comments (0)

New Zealand rugby league coach Brian McClennan returned fire on claims his debutant wingers would be easy targets in Saturday night's Tri-Nations opener, suggesting Australia's flankers were a weakness for his side to exploit.

McClennan made the bold move on Tuesday of naming inexperienced duo Jake Webster and Manu Vatuvei on the wings for the Telstra Stadium clash, where they will come up against the Australian combination of Matt King and Timana Tahu.

The Kiwi coach said the Kangaroos decision to put specialist centres King and Tahu on the wing could backfire, despite the obvious edge in experience over their Kiwi counterparts.

"Matt King doesn't play too much wing and Timana Tahu's played mostly centre," McClennan said.

"I'd say that Jake and Manu have had the opportunity to catch more high kicks than their two wingers.

"They're not specialists, so we'll be targeting their wings too."

Australian halfback Andrew Johns on Thursday suggested the Kangaroos would look to exploit their height advantage out wide by putting up plenty of high balls for the Kiwis to defuse.

McClennan countered by saying the Australians could expect just as many bombs in return, as well as a host of low grubbers which could give King and Tahu, who are both relatively tall, plenty of problems.

"I'm confident the boys are going to handle whatever they throw at them and we'll test Matt King and Timana Tahu too," McClennan said.

"They can kick to us, we can kick to them too."

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