NZME rugby league writer Michael Burgess looks at three things we learned fom the Kiwis thrilling 17-16 Four Nations win over England this morning.
1. The belief is back
Sunday morning's 17-16 win over England is a massive result for the Kiwis. A victory today was non-negotiable - and the Kiwis were the better side for large periods of the game - but errors at crucial times kept letting the home side back into the match. Thankfully, New Zealand hung on, with the defensive effort in the first and final quarter keys to the victory. It was just the Kiwis' third victory on English soil since 2007.
2. Big effort from Kahu
Jordan Kahu was playing just his second match at fullback this season, but the Broncos utility was outstanding at John Smith's stadium and one of the best on field. He defused several huge bombs, kicked some crucial conversions and saved at least two tries with outstanding defence. Kahu also provided the assist for the Kiwis's first try just before halftime, which in the context of the match was vitally important.
3. Interchange forwards pave the way
As has happened for so many of the Kiwis wins over the last two years, the role of the bench proved vital. Martin Taupau and Adam Blair helped to turn the course of the first half, after England had dominated the first 20 minutes. Taupau broke the line on several occasions, while Blair's energy on attack and defence lifted the team at a crucial moment. Manu Ma'u also played his part off the pine, with some strong runs and a brilliant offload for Jordan Rapana's second try, while Lewis Brown was typically solid during his spell.
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