New Zealand are going to feel pressure of playing in England, admits Stacey Jones

New Zealand assistant coach Stacey Jones admitted the Kiwis can’t let the hostile atmosphere in England affect them too much.

The Kiwis play England in a three-match Test series this autumn, with the first game taking place at the KCOM Stadium in Hull on Saturday.

Jones, who earned 48 caps for New Zealand in his playing career, said he enjoyed the Super League atmosphere when he played for Catalans Dragons between 2006 and 2007, but admitted that the Kiwis will have to ensure they don’t choke under pressure.

He said: “We know from personal experience just how passionate the fans are over here about the game.

“The people up in the north of England get right behind their team and appreciate good football, so we want to bring a game that the people can come and support and appreciate.

“We know it’s going to be tough. England have a lot of people who play in the NRL, so they know the week in, week out grind of what high pressure football is all about.

“And their English-based players are professional players and they’ve played in play-off football too, so they know what it’s all about. We know it is going to be a tough environment but also an exciting one.”

Jones, who made over 250 appearances for New Zealand Warriors, revealed that the atmosphere at games in England is more intense than Australia or New Zealand.

The 42-year-old added: “I feel that if you compare the Super League to the NRL, their fans get right behind them and I’m not saying ours don’t, but they are more boisterous and louder.

“They give it to the opposition teams a little bit more so it’s an environment that you enjoy playing in but they certainly let you know if you aren’t doing too good.

“The pitches in England are pretty small. Our boys are going to feel the pressure but we’ve got to embrace it and relish the opportunity.

“My memories of being a footballer over here were the best ones because it’s pretty enjoyable when you have success.

“We know that playing in England is a little bit different so we’ll have to tighten things up but everyone is excited and looking forward to putting on the boots again.”

New Zealand are competing for the Baskerville Shield against England in Hull, Leeds and Liverpool this autumn.

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