Internationals Kiwis Ready For Great Britain

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From www.nrl.com:

Up and coming New Zealand star Simon Mannering says his team hasn’t been mentally scarred by the last minute loss to Australia in game 2 of the Gillette Tri Nations and they are ready for Great Britain this Saturday night in Christchurch.

The Kiwis led Australia 15-8 with just 8 minutes remaining in Melbourne before two late tries got the Kangaroos home and Mannering says they won’t be flat this week.

“We’re pretty good a few boys are carrying injuries but mentally we’re okay we’re looking forward to the next game and we know it’s a do or die match so we’re going to have to come out with all guns blazing.â€Â

Mannering made his test debut in game one at Mt. Smart Stadium at lock and moved around a bit in the Telstradome match and he says he loves the step up to test football.

“They’ve been pretty tough coming up against Aussie in the first two tests but I’m really enjoying my footy. It’s been pretty physical and a bit of a step up but I’m enjoying the challenge.â€Â

Mannering moved from lock to the wing on occasion during the Melbourne match and says it was all part of Coach Brian McClennan’s plan.

“I played outside backs all year at the Warriors and my first touch out there wasn’t good I dropped the footy, but it wasn’t too bad. I think they were just trying to give me a rest and keep me on the field as long as possible.

He told me before hand he was going to rest me out on the wing a little bit he said every now and then to go out on the wing for 5 minutes for a breather.â€Â

The 20-year-old thought he was in for his first test victory with 8 minutes to go in Melbourne but saw it disappear before his eyes.

“I was off field at that stage and when Stacey landed the drop goal I thought we could win this one but the Aussies came back with two pretty good tries, we didn’t shut them down as we should have.

We knew they were going to try things and they’re a class side and they’d do it to us if we switched off and they did.â€Â

The loss left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Kiwis and Mannering says Saturday night in Christchurch is the first step towards unfinished business.

“We want to beat the Poms this week but we want to beat Australia in the final so we’re going to have to win these next two games to get a chance to defend our title.

We all have faith we can do it and while we’re disappointed about last week we’ve got to move on and we’re really looking forward to Saturday night.â€Â

The Great Britain team has been out of the spotlight preparing for their first game of the Gillette Tri Nations and Mannering admits he’s doesn’t know a real lot about them.

“Us boys who play in the NRL don’t really know them, but we’ve got a few boys who play in the Super League and they say they’ve got a pretty good side.

We’re not going to underestimate them we know they’ve got a pretty good side and they’ve been training really well.â€Â

Mannering doesn’t think there’s much chance of catching the Lions off guard at Jade Stadium either.

“They’ve just finished their season so they’ve got a bit of match fitness so it’s going to be a tough one and we won’t underestimate them at all.

They’ve got a big forward pack up front so we’re going to have to match them up front if we want to be a chance.â€Â

In that front row Stuart Fielden is the man who draws the most attention with his Herculean 80 minute performances and Mannering says there are a few Kiwis who want to test his reputation.

“He’s one of the best players in their side and he’s one of the dangers, he’s definitely a big lad but we know we’ve got the firepower to match their forward pack.

We’ve got Roy and Rubes and you canâ€ât go past them if you’re talking about the best props in the world.â€Â

The Kiwis have been welcomed with open arms by the people of Christchurch and Mannering says they’ve been a real boost following the loss to Australia.

“We had a barbeque and fan day and about 700 people turned up which was a bit of a surprise and it was good, we all enjoyed it and it was good for the game. We didn’t realise we had that many fans down here and they’re all behind us.â€Â