Martin calls on pack to de­liver go­for­ward

Otago Daily Times - - SPORT & RACING -

WELLINGTON: Go­ing for­ward with­out for­ward go­for­ward is hardly easy go­ing, Ki­wis play­maker Te Maire Martin reck­ons.

So the Cow­boys­based ace hopes his side’s big boys can do a job through the mid­dle in Satur­day’s World Cup quar­ter­fi­nal against Fiji.

New Zealand’s pack laboured against its pow­er­house Ton­gan coun­ter­part in last week’s 28­22 loss, mak­ing fewer run­ning me­tres and off­loads.

That re­verse set it on a col­li­sion course with the sim­i­larly burly Bati, which topped pool D un­de­feated, and pos­si­bly Aus­ tralia in the semi­fi­nal.

Martin ad­mit­ted his side’s for­wards would need to be bet­ter against

Fiji, as they at­tempt to re­sus­ci­tate their World

Cup cam­paign.

Should they suc­ceed in get­ting the bet­ter of the Fi­jians through the mid­dle, they would likely have more luck quelling the threat of Jar­ryd Hayne.

‘‘You can’t just fo­cus on him [Hayne], you’ve got to fo­cus on all the other for­wards and that stuff too, with [their] mo­men­tum,’’ Martin said.

‘‘Com­ing from the halves my­self, try­ing to go for­ward when your for­wards aren’t go­ing for­ward isn’t easy.

‘‘You’ve got that X­fac­tor there and we’ll have to try and work on him — if he gets one on one, he’s go­ing to beat them most of the time.’’

Hav­ing starred in the Ki­wis’ 74­6 maul­ing of Scot­land two weeks ago, the 22­year­old Mar­ tin sat out his side’s up­set at the hands of Tonga.

But he will re­turn to the start­ing line­up for Satur­day’s test, with Kodi Niko­rima mov­ing to the bench and Thomas Leu­luai to the stands.

He is look­ing for­ward to re­sum­ing his halves part­ner­ship with Shaun John­son.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing flows pretty nicely at train­ing — we’ll see when it comes to Satur­day but I thought we con­nected pretty well last game against Scot­land, off the back of the way our for­wards played,’’ the Toko­roaborn Martin said. — NZN

Te Maire Martin

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