The Kiwis won't be going back to Workington in a hurry.

Coach David Kidwell questioned the choice of venue for this morning's Scotland test and several Kiwis players said they had never played at such a sub-standard ground in their professional careers.

While the New Zealand team could have no excuses for their shock 18-18 draw with Scotland, staging a match of this magnitude in such an unlikely location was a strange decision.

The facilities looked like they hadn't been upgraded in decades and the surface was far from test-match quality, with a bumpy, uneven ground and one corner of the field sloping noticeably upwards inside the in-goal. The field was surrounded by a speedway track and the cramped facilities inside the clubrooms resembled something you might see at a suburban ground in Auckland.


It's obviously a ground steeped in history, and great for club football and maybe tour games. But a Four Nations test match?

"We are always looking to grow the game and we want to be part of that but I really think the rugby league federation needs to look at this," said Kidwell. "We have some world-class players out there so we need world-class fields to make sure that this game, test match football, stays where it wants to be, at the pinnacle."

It's unusual for a coach to make such a comment, which underlines Kidwell's obvious frustration. The players, too, didn't hold back, with David Fusitua and Gerard Beale admitting they hadn't played on a comparable ground in their professional careers.

Scotland coach Steve McCormack bristled when asked if Derwent Stadium was a test match standard ground.

"We played in the World Cup at Rockhampton in 2008," said McCormack. "What do you call a world-class stadium? You've got passionate fans, a great atmosphere and there's no better place to play rugby league."

That's a moot point. Workington, and the county of Cumbria, is a hot bed of league and has become a second home for Scotland, but playing a Four Nations match there is a bit like staging a Rugby Championship game in Invercargill.

But the Kiwis had much greater problems that the venue. They were out-enthused for most of the night and, just like England last week, seemed to underestimate the Scots.

"They had more energy at times," said Kidwell. "A couple of penalties on the fifth tackle really hurt us, especially when we had good linespeed down there. We pride ourselves on our defence but we let them get back into the game and they took that opportunity."


Captain Jesse Bromwich was one of the few to emerge with credit, playing the first 50 minutes without a break.

"We weren't surprised [by Scotland]," said Bromwich. "We planned on that all week. They started really well against England and we knew they were going to do that today. We didn't start well and they hung in there right to the end. Well done to them."

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