Price has high opinion of Kiwi Cup team - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Price has high opinion of Kiwi Cup team

By Todd Balym 21/10/2008 06:54:14 PM Comments (0)

Australian prop Steve Price rates the New Zealand rugby league World Cup team the best Kiwi outfit he has seen.

The Warriors skipper heaped praise on the Kangaroos' main World Cup rivals despite yet another injury blow to the Kiwis with Roosters centre Sia Soliola ruled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury and replaced by Bronson Harrison.

Soliola joins Roy Asotasi, Frank Pritchard, Brent Webb and Sonny Bill Williams on the list of Kiwi Test stars that would have been pencilled into the side at the start of 2008.

But even with the considerable talent missing Price still believes the New Zealand Test team, guided by the likes of coach Stephen Kearney, mastermind Wayne Bennett and ex-stars Stacey Jones and Ruben Wiki, will be tougher than any Kiwi side Australia has met in recent seasons.

"I think across the board it is (stronger). It is probably the best opportunity they have got of having most of their strongest side," said Price.

"I saw the team they named against the Tongans (last week) and that was a really strong side.

"Even though they're missing, well Sonny Bill is not available, but guys like Roy, Frank Pritchard and a couple of other guys it's going to be very tough.

"I think it's all about preparation and mental attitude going into each game and I'm pretty sure they're going to be right on the mark.

"They have been in camp for two or three weeks ... we have been in for only four days.

"We're not going to be spot-on but we have to make sure it is as good as it can be because we are coming up against a team that is going to be prepared very well."

Fellow prop Petero Civoniceva also rates the Kiwi World Cup squad highly, claiming the New Zealanders had closed the gap on Australia considerably since last year's record 58-0 end-of-year Test mauling in Wellington.

"I think the gap has gotten smaller and smaller between the two nations," said Civoniceva.

"I think that on their day if they play the right football and really test us we could easily be on the back end of a bad result.

"As a group we are fully aware of that and no one is taking it lightly in our preparation."

Australian coach Ricky Stuart was set to name his team for Sunday's opening clash with the Kiwis on Tuesday but delayed the announcement until Wednesday to coincide with New Zealand.

Stuart is expected to name at least four of his eight rookies in the team with Glenn Stewart, Anthony Laffranchi and Anthony Watmough all expected to make the cut and outside backs David Williams and Joel Monaghan vying for the one wing position.

Likely teams:

Australia: Billy Slater, Israel Folau, Greg Inglis, Brent Tate, David Williams, Darren Lockyer (capt), Johnathan Thurston, Brent Kite, Cameron Smith, Steve Price, Anthony Watmough, Glenn Stewart, Paul Gallen. Interchange: Kurt Gidley, Anthony Laffranchi, Petero Civoniceva, Craig Fitzgibbon.

New Zealand: Lance Hohaia, Sam Perrett, Steve Matai, Jerome Ropati, Manu Vatuvei, Benji Marshall, Thomas Leuluai, Nathan Cayless (capt), Nathan Fien, Sam Rapira, Simon Mannering, Setaimata Sa, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Issac Luke, Sika Manu, Greg Eastwood, Adam Blair

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news