Payback not a talking point for Kiwis - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Payback not a talking point for Kiwis

Fred Woodcock 22/10/2010 08:11:36 PM Comments (0)

New Zealand are trying to play down the revenge factor ahead of their Four Nations opener against England in Wellington on Saturday night.

A surprise 20-12 loss to England in last year's tournament was enough to see the hosts go through to meet Australia in the final, a memory which is still fresh in the minds of many of the players who played in that match.

With the Kangaroos again expected to breeze through to the final, it is anticipated the same fate could await the winner of Saturday night's Westpac Stadium clash, with the loser facing a tough battle to progress to the decider.

Twelve of New Zealand's current squad played in last year's game at Huddersfield and the result clearly still rankles with Kiwis halfback Nathan Fien - after the World Cup holders had set themselves up with two good performances including a 20-20 draw with Australia in London.

"We sort of let ourselves down, we played so good against Australia to kick off the tournament and went really well against France but we let it all slip with that game in Huddersfield," Fien said.

"It definitely does hurt. In these tournaments you can't take your foot off the gas because it is so short. Obviously the Pommies got us over in England so they are going to be coming here brimming with confidence."

But New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney said last year's loss to England was irrelevant heading into Saturday's match.

"We got beaten fair and square, but for us we have got a different group here and we need to focus on (Saturday) night's performance, not what happened 12 months ago," he said.

"These boys are very aware of that."

Sika Manu and Sam Perrett are expected to be cut from the extended bench for the home team, while England will be without winger Ryan Hall due to a hamstring injury, with Darrell Goulding to make his Test debut.

Wigan halfback Sam Tomkins, England's key playmaker, came through Friday's training session and is expected to play according to coach Steve McNamara.

New England captain James Graham said the loss of fellow props Jamie Peacock and the man he replaced as skipper, Adrian Morley, was a blow to the side.

The loss of the duo has led to a recall for 31-year-old veteran Stuart Fielden, who played his last Test back in 2006.

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