League: Kiwis admit they lack ruthless edge

By Michael Burgess in Workington

Kiwis second rower Tohu Harris admits the Kiwis lack a ruthless edge at the moment, which has put them in an unwanted predicament over the next 24 hours.

They will be forced to sit and watch the Kangaroos-England clash on Sunday afternoon (Monday morning NZT), knowing that the wrong result will see them on the plane home the following day.

If the Lions win, or the Olympic stadium fixture is a draw, the defending Four Nations champions will limp out of the tournament.

In the wash-up after yesterday's Scotland game coach David Kidwell focused on untimely mistakes, inaccuracy and the penalty count, while captain Jesse Bromwich bemoaned an overall lack of energy.

But Harris nailed the Kiwis' major problem - a complete inability to make defensive or offensive pressure count. It killed them in Perth, hurt them in Coventry and was the critical factor in Workington against Scotland.

"Right from the start we lacked the ruthlessness that I think Australia has at the moment," said Harris. "That is the biggest difference between us and them at the moment."

The Kiwis had good moments in Workington but would invariably release all pressure with a poor option, bad mistake, cheap penalty or lazy chase. It's all about the right attitude, which the Kiwis lacked. Scotland were tenacious, but some sustained pressure in the first half could have punctured their belief, and ensured a much better result.

"It's all about putting teams under pressure and then putting the foot on the throat," said Harris. "We were able to build pressure at times but we let ourselves down and let that pressure off at times."

It was a crazy game. Not only did Scotland dominate the first half - playing into a strong wind - but the minnows also looked the more likely winners with 10 minutes to play.

The Kiwis made the 150km trip from Carlisle to Manchester today, where they will be based until they know their fate.

They'll hope that Australia continues their recent dominance over England, a winning run that dates back to 2006.

"We have left the outcome in someone else's hands, which is what we wanted to avoid," said Harris. "We have to hope and pray for the Kangaroos - cheer for the Aussies which hurts inside. [But] we want to be there playing in that final."

"We spoke about remaining positive," added teammate Shaun Johnson. "We are still in with a chance of being there next weekend and if we are then we have to treat it as another week where we want to improve as a group.

Autex - Proud sponsors of New Zealand rugby league since 1981

- NZ Herald

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