Kearney keeps calm after Kiwis crash against England


New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney remains confident his side can bounce back and square the Test series up 1-1 in London in six days.

England have a 1-0 lead after defeating New Zealand at Hull’s KC Stadium in the opening Test.

The hosts were slow out of the blocks but found a new level in the second half and walked away with a 14-point win.

Kearney said he saw enough in Hull in the opening stages of the game to be confident his team can recover for the next match at the Olympic Stadium.

“We’ve got plenty of improvement in us,” he said.

“We had a couple of opportunities we didn’t take as well as we could have done, but we move to next week.

“I think everyone saw there’s something there with our team, especially in the first 30 minutes.

“I know the talent is there, it’s about making sure we improve and play to our potential, starting next week.

England were marvelous tonight, and we’ve got a really tough challenge ahead of us.”

The Kiwis may have to go into the next game without co-captain Adam Blair, who left the field just before full-time after a heavy collision.

Kearney praised England’s second-half performance, which kept New Zealand scoreless.

“In the second half we didn’t execute what we wanted to,” he said.

“That was the disappointing thing, but England put a lot of pressure on us. They did a great job in defence.”

New Zealand could not wrestle back the momentum from England in the final 40 minutes.

Mistakes and penalties started to rack up against them, and Kearney said this will be something he will aim to change ahead of the second Test.

“That’s the issue we need to work on,” he said.

“Sometimes you want to get that [momentum] back, but you make it hard for yourself through errors and penalties and you have a team that’s very determined and making it very hard for you.

“So from our point of view it certainly wasn’t good enough and that’s something we’ll be looking to address this week.”