Kiwis coach David Kidwell must fall on his sword in the wake of the Kiwis disastrous Rugby League World Cup campaign that ended in a stunningly inept and embarrassing quarter-final loss to Fiji tonight.

The Kiwis response to last week's shock 28-22 loss to Tonga was woeful with a lack of cohesion, direction and accuracy and a plethora of unforced errors consigning them to an unthinkable second-straight loss to a second tier team.

After declaring the defeat at Waikato Stadium a "blessing in disguise" Kidwell can no longer look on the bright side. His record makes for ugly reading with the Kiwis having recorded just three wins in 10 tests under his guidance.

One of those was a less than emphatic 17-16 win over England during last year's failed Four Nations campaign that also saw the Kiwis draw with Scotland, while one-sided World Cup victories over Samoa and the Bravehearts glossed over the fact they had lost four encounters to Australia.


The New Zealand Rugby League's lack of wisdom in appointing a coach with no first grade coaching experience has been brutally exposed with Kidwell's side showing a lack of grit and tactical nous when it mattered most.

Alarm bells were ringing after former test captain Jesse Bromwich and back-rower Kevin Proctor were caught up in a cocaine scandal following the Anzac test in Canberra in May and Kidwell has been unable to redeem himself after losing a grip on this campaign.

The fact he is a New Zealander and a passionate former test player was supposed to foster and improve the team's culture but huge doubts hang over his ability to inspire his players to great heights.

Against Fiji, halves Shaun Johnson, young five-eighth Te Maire Martin and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck looked frustrated and low on confidence behind a big-name forward pack that failed to produce.

Kidwell's grand vision for the side to play expansive 'Kiwis style footy' looked reasonably effective against sub-par opposition but both Tonga and Fiji exposed the frailties in those plans with simple but effective hard running and tackling.

The past week has shown the Kiwis unwilling to face reality with Blair unbelievably claiming post-match that the result was somehow anything but a negative.

The tendency to brush aside glaring concerns and defiantly insist everything is going great only infuriates long-suffering Kiwis fans who are left with few honest answers to explain the team's downward spiral.