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Kiwis preparing for Kangaroos backlash

Kieran Foran is preparing for an Australia backlash if the Kiwis play the Kangaroos in the Four Nations rugby league final in Wellington next Saturday night.


New Zealand secured their place with a hard-earned 16-14 win over England in Dunedin to finish pool play as the only unbeaten side.

The other berth remains open, but Australia are favourites to claim it.

A win over Samoa in Wollongong on Sunday will set the Kangaroos up for a re-match with the Kiwis, who beat them 30-12 in round one a fortnight ago.

“We’ve got to be prepared for a really quality Australian side if that’s the way things pan out,” Foran said.

“They were aggressive last week against England and they will be against Samoa.

“I’d like to think the win in Brisbane will give us self-belief but every game’s different.”

The Manly five-eighth said the Kiwis would prepare for the title decider against whichever opposition the same as they had throughout the tournament.

“We’ll rest up some sore bodies for a bit and then get cracking,” he said.

“They’ll beat us convincingly if we don’t turn up on the day.”

The result at Forsyth Barr Stadium continued the trend of tight finishes in the tournament, with the Kiwis-Kangaroos clash being the one exception.

Each side scored three tries, all of them going to the wingers – Kiwis Jason Nightingale and Manu Vatuvei, and England’s Ryan Hall and Josh Charnley, with Nightingale and Hall both getting a brace.

Foran said the feeling in the New Zealand camp afterwards was one of relief.

“It was a tough game and it was great we were able to hold on at the end,” he said.

“The six tries scored by the wings shows there was a lot of footy played. Both teams were prepared to shift the ball to the edges.”

Foran is thriving in his halves combination with the Warriors’ Shaun Johnson, who again showed his class against England.

“He’s got an all-round game, a great footy brain and great awareness out there on the paddock,” Foran said.

“He can break a game wide open at any time. He’s a world-class player and someone I enjoy playing with. We’re starting to develop a pretty handy partnership.”

The Kiwis travel to Wellington on Sunday where shoulder problems suffered by Thomas Leuluai and Tohu Harris will be assessed.