Maguire: Win just the start

Herald on Sunday - - IN OTHER NEWS - Christo­pher Reive

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.”

Photo / Photosport

dur­ing a strong sec­ond half from the Kiwi Ferns yes­ter­day.

Photo / AP

Khabib Nur­magome­dov may walk away from UFC.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.