Maguire sees positives in defeat
heart from the way they took the fight to their more-fancied opposition to shoot out to a 12-0 lead.
‘‘The boys actually controlled the first 20 minutes and played the style of what we practiced,’’ Maguire said.
‘‘We only had three training sessions and I was confident going in that if we were able to hold our structures we’d play some good footy. I thought they did that in that first 20, it was just unfortunate in the back end of the first half the completion rates dropped, which then increased the missed tackles and the pressure on us became too strong.’’
The Kiwis’ lack of experience was clear in the second half as they struggled to wrestle back the momentum when England took control.
They completed at just 66 per cent and conceded 10 penalties to three, while their cause wasn’t helped by kicking the restart dead on three separate occasions.
‘‘The biggest thing this group has to take out of it is that little moments in test matches change games,’’ he said.
‘‘You’ve got to remember England have got a very experienced team. And a lot of the younger guys that have come in now know the level that we’ve got to go to.
‘‘I think they should take a lot of confidence from periods where we really challenged and we actually dominated.’’
Of all the new caps, centre Esan Marsters was the standout as he celebrated his debut with the opening try and was a handful down the right edge.
Veteran hooker Issac Luke, who served as the team’s unofficial captain, did his best to lead the team in difficult circumstances.
He was dangerous out of dummy-half in the opening 40 minutes but attacking opportunities were few and far between for the Kiwis after the break.
Having hinted that this might be his last test on the eve of the game, Luke told reporters during the post-match press conference that he would put his hand up to play at the end of the year.
That was music to Maguire’s ears, although much will depend on how Luke’s troublesome shoulder holds up during the rest of the NRL season.