Shaun Johnson in action for New Zealand against Australia.

Kiwis eager to see improved attack

After scoring just six points in their last two games, New Zealand have acknowledged they need to step up and help Shaun Johnson carry the load in attack.

In consecutive losses to Australia the Kiwis have looked one dimensional and lacked creativity with the ball, managing only two line breaks and a sole try in 160 minutes of Test football.

Speaking ahead of New Zealand’s opening game of their Four Nations campaign against England, fullback Jordan Kahu said he would be taking it upon himself to get involved more often in attacking sets.

 


"Yeah definitely [it’s something I need to improve on], obviously last game I was pretty happy with my performance, I was safe, but I didn’t really have much impact on the game and my attacking…I wasn’t really happy with it,” Kahu said.

"Hopefully I can help out 'Shauny' (Johnson) and Issac [Luke], and the other boys, and help get some points on the board.

"I guess Shaun has his moments and when he demands the ball people get it to him, I have got to do the same when I see an opportunity come my way, I have got to get the ball in my hands.”

Against the Kangaroos a fortnight ago New Zealand were repeatedly found wanting when it came to last-tackle options, as Australia successfully pressured Johnson with multiple defenders.

With a lack of back-up playmaking options New Zealand were never able to build any sustained pressure, leaving Kevin Proctor’s try in the 22nd minute as one of the only Kiwi highlights from an attacking point of view.

New coach David Kidwell said improving his side’s work on the ball had been a major focus point since the Perth Test, but agreed that responsibility couldn’t fall on Johnson’s shoulders alone.

"We have addressed that (attacking strategies) at training and put it into action, and so we just need to go out and execute it,” Kidwell said.

"It’s about the team, the whole 17 who are out there, and everyone has got to focus on our game plan and what we need to do.”

Meanwhile the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield has sold out for the New Zealand-England clash, with 24,500 set to witness Wayne Bennett’s first match in charge of the host nation at a major tournament.