Michael Maguire rues lack of pressure against England

Jacob Kilbride

New Zealand head coach Michael Maguire felt that his side failed to maintain the pressure on England after suffering defeat in the opening test of the series.

England claimed a narrow 18-16 thanks to a stunning Oliver Gildart try from 50 metres out in the second half, putting the hosts 1-0 up in the three-match test series.

Maguire felt that his side couldn’t keep up their momentum at key times, allowing England a vital foothold in the game.

“We definitely let England off the pressure a few times and we had moments in the game when we could have played our style,” said the New Zealand coach.

“But we need to make sure that we take a lot of lessons out of that one. The pressure was relieved on England at certain times in the game and it continually allowed them to go back at us.”

“You’ve got to be able to build pressure. There were times throughout the game when we had control, we were playing our game and how we want to play. At stages, the boys just let it off.”

Much of the pre-match narrative labelled the Kiwis as a side in transition, with Maguire only taking the job in May and many new members in the squad.

“We had an opportunity there to win that game and that’s why it was so tight,” added Maguire.

“When you talk about developing, I’ve still got a very capable team who I’m confident about and believe in.”

“If we continually instil the things that we’re going about in practise then we’re going to grown and become very strong.”

“We’ll grow a lot from that and I think this group will grew together. We had a good win a couple of weeks ago, but now it’s about understanding what test match football is all about.”