Maguire sees pos­i­tives in de­feat

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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