When the Kangaroos arrived in London last Friday, they were under
“pressure” to perform in the Tri-Nations series. But within 48 hours
the pressure dramatically switched to the hosts, Great Britain, who now
risk missing the finals at the end of November.
The Kiwis proved their form against the Kangaroos was no fluke – not
that I thought it was – when they thumped the Poms by 42-26 on Sunday
The win just about guarantees the Kiwis a spot in the finals, and the
Poms will almost certainly need to defeat the Kangaroos twice – next
Sunday and then on November 20 – to avoid a Kiwis v Kangaroos final in
Leeds on 27 November. And what a financial disaster that might become
for the International Rugby League Board – a final in the heartland of
UK league between two overseas teams.
But don’t feel sorry for the game’s
administrators – they decided to play the Tri-Nations series in the UK when it would drawn much bigger crowds as a night time
series in regional Australia and New Zealand.
After the way the Great Britain side played yesterday, it looks like
they should struggle against the Kangaroos and again against the Kiwis
when they meet for a second time. They were totally outplayed by an
enthusiastic and committed NZ team and if the Kangaroos are anywhere
near their best form, the Poms will have a job ahead of them next
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Playing this series in the UK year-in-year-out always had risks attached to it. And why is it that
a so-called Tri-Nations competition must always have its final played in
Even though the Kangaroos must start favourites next
weekend, there are obvious dangers. The Great Britain team know that a loss
in that game just about spells the end for them. But if the Kangaroos lose they will be in trouble as
well – possibly having to depend on points “for and against” to make the final.
The Kiwis deserve full credit for their excellent
form and much of it must go to their “unconventional” coach, Brian McClennan, or “Brian who?” as most fans are still asking. At
least the guy has passion.
A series that a few weeks ago looked like being a yawn
has had some real life injected into it. And who can really complain about