Kiwis lament missed chances
After watching his side suffer a 14-8 defeat in a match that went down to the very last play, New Zealand coach David Kidwell said his side failed to capitalise on their chances against Australia.
The Kiwis recovered from a sluggish start, which saw the Kangaroos up 10-0 after just 15 minutes, to trail by six points with three minutes to go in front of 21,009 fans at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Sunday morning (AEDT).
With a few seconds left Shaun Johnson looked to have scored a try which would have set New Zealand up with the opportunity to escape the game with a draw, but inspection from the video referee found he had been held up by some desperate Kangaroos cover defence.
Post-match Kidwell didn't see that as the defining moment of the contest though, and believed New Zealand probably cost themselves a chance earlier with an inability to build pressure.
"Test match football is about taking your opportunities and I thought at times we didn't," Kidwell said.
"Towards the end there we started to play some of the football that we know we can play, we just have to make sure that we take our opportunities both in attack and defence.
"Some of our first-up contact at times, I think we just let them off the hook a couple of times.
"There is [a couple of missed opportunities which stand out], with letting them out of their half a couple of times."
Despite Australia controlling the majority of the contest, New Zealand held up a stubborn front and refused to go away.
The Kiwis finished the match having completed 81 per cent of their sets, with captain Jesse Bromwich viewing the slow start as the only major negative ahead of facing Scotland next week.
"That 10-minute spell (at the start if the match) probably cost us, we need to improve that, our defence around that stage of the game wasn't up to scratch today," Bromwich said.
"I thought we worked really hard again, we have been working hard all tour.
"Our scramble was good, our goal-line defence was really good."
If Australia beat England in the final round of pool games next weekend then a draw or win against Scotland will be enough to see New Zealand through to the tournament final at Anfield on November 20.