Maguire: Win just the start
This is just the beginning — that was the clear message driven home by Kiwis coach Michael Maguire after his side’s 26-24 win over the Kangaroos at Mt Smart Stadium last night.
With a relatively inexperienced squad playing under a new captain, the Kiwis dominated the Australians for most of the test, with the final score almost flattering the visitors.
Maguire said the victory marked a turning of the tide for the Kiwis.
“We’re going to enjoy the win. That’s a really strong win from the boys for where we are at the moment,” Maguire said. “The boys have spoken about what kind of team they want to be so the fans come along on the ride with us.”
Dominating possession and territory, the Kiwis chipped away at the Australians to earn a deserved win.
Their first victory against Australia since 2015, the match provides a strong platform to build on when the side travel north to take on England. Khabib Nurmagomedov threatened to walk away from the UFC and now he has been approached for his next fight.
UFC 229 has been among the biggest talking points in the world of sport for the past week, thanks to the ugly fallout from the main event.
Irishman Conor McGregor and Russian Nurmagomedov went toe-to-toe but it was after the fight when the real action kicked off.
Khabib’s rampage out of the cage, along with his teammates jumping McGregor inside the cage set the UFC into meltdown.
Both fighters were handed 10-day suspensions from the UFC but one of Khabib’s friends and team-mates could be facing severe punishment.
Zubaira Tukhugov was revealed to be the man who jumped the cage and sucker punched McGregor while the Irishman was unawares. The last time the Kiwis played the Lions, in Denver in June, they were on the wrong side of a 36-18 result.
Recently-appointed Kiwis captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak echoed Maguire’s notion that there’s plenty more to come from this side.
The Kiwis brought a refreshed focus and mentality into the match against the Kangaroos, and WateneZelezniak said for his side, the game was more than just 80 minutes on a Saturday night.
“Everyone talks about the game but the game for us started last Sunday when we got into camp, preparing each training session, winning everything, it turned out [last night] to be really good for us.
“This is obviously what we came into this camp for — to build a foundation for not only us but for the kids coming through and the kids after that; to give this nation what they deserve,” said Watene-Zelezniak.
“We’re building. [Last night’s win] is the foundation we’ve built and we’ve just got to keep going.”
during a strong second half from the Kiwi Ferns yesterday.
Khabib Nurmagomedov may walk away from UFC.