NZ league star okayed to sledge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NZ league star okayed to sledge

30/10/2009 08:06:14 PM Comments (0)

New Zealand firebrand Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has the blessing of his coach to continue sledging opponents during the Four Nations rugby league tournament - as long as he doesn't get carried away.

The 20-year-old Manly rookie has been roundly criticised by Australian players since last Saturday's 20-20 draw at the Stoop for abusing Australian prop Petero Civoniceva about his age, with forward Sam Thaiday calling on the Kiwi to "learn some respect".

But New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney said ahead of Sunday morning's match with France at Stade Ernest Wallon here that he would not be instructing the youngster to zip it.

"I think it's a matter for the individual and he's an aggressive young player," Kearney said.

"He's been doing that all year.

"I heard whispers about showing Petero respect. For a young lad like that, I think it is respect.

"He wasn't going to back down from undoubtedly one of the best props in the game and who has been for quite some time.

"Again, to me that is a little bit of respect really.

"I don't want him to get carried away with that side of things.

"It's important for him that he's effective. If he's over-aggressive he's no good to anybody."

Kearney has named a full-strength side for the France match save for forwards Jeff Lima and Bronson Harrison who each have calf injuries.

Prop Lima will definitely be back for the November 7 game against England in Huddersfield while Harrison was now an outside chance after his entire campaign looked in doubt.

"He hasn't run yet but he is definitely looking a lot better than he did on Saturday night after the game," the coach said.

Kearney was reluctant to buy into predictions from Australian winger Jarryd Hayne that England would `tank' in that game if they beat the green-and-golds on Saturday at Wigan, in order to avoid a rematch in the Elland Road final.

"Let me put it this way, I know Jarryd's father very well," was Kearney's cryptic response.

He said of Australia's refusal to play under a French or New Zealand referee: "I'm always of the belief that, regardless of where the referee comes from, I think we should be given the best referee for the job."

But when asked if he would be happy to play Australia under an Australian referee, Kearney responded: "Um, if we get to play Australia again, I'll look at it again."

Injury-hit France have been given an extension to the 48-hour rule regarding team announcements.

Summing up what he expects on Saturday, Kearney said: "It's just like when we arrived here.

"Our plane's late, our bus got stuck halfway down the street and we had to carry gear.

"I think it's going to be, on their home soil, one of those frustrating afternoons.

"From my point of view it's a real test of patience for us and making sure we keep our focus because I know of a lot of teams that have come here - both New Zealand and Australian - that have struggled."

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