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Kiwis plan to beat Aussies at own game

By David Skipwith

Published: 3:16PM Tuesday April 17, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

Kiwis' enforcers Jeremy Smith and Adam Blair say ball control and maintaining their composure will be the key elements to earning a rare Anzac Test win against the Kangaroos at Eden Park on Friday night.

Veteran backrower Smith says the Kiwis need to work hard to complete their sets and force the star-studded Australian side into doing a lot of tackling to give them their best chance of achieving victory.

"We've just got to hold the ball. It's the only way you can beat the Aussies is to play their style of football. Hold the ball and not make any mistakes," Smith explained at the teams' media session today.

"Not giving them cheap ball and handing the ball over. The longer we hold the ball, the more they have to tackle you."

Although they have little time this week to prepare and work on combinations, Smith felt the Kiwis have an existing bond that makes it easier for the 19-man squad to come together and gel.

" We've got a good core group here so we just pick up where we left off.

"It is pretty tough to come out for a one-off Test but there are no excuses there. If we can hold the ball we'll go a long way to doing a job on them."

Front and backrow utility Blair added that self belief would be key to the team realising their potential, while he also stressed the need for cool heads and patience in what is certain to be a pressure-cooker atmosphere.

"Just having belief as a team. We've got a young, exciting squad with a couple of old heads that have played a few games so I think a lot of enthusiasm, and controlled enthusiasm as well, goes a long way," he explained.

"We'll talk about not getting too excited but we need to obviously stay in the game for the full 80 minutes against the Aussies.

"They have got a great squad and we need to do the right thing there."

Smith shrugged off talk that the Kiwis might be feeling some angst towards New Zealand-born James Tamou opting to play for Australia, saying he respects his decision and that it is a situation they have encountered before.|

"No definitely not. It happened with Karmichael Hunt so it's the same. He's made his choice and I've got nothing against him making that decision.

"There's plenty more Kiwis and frontrowers. There is plenty of stock so we are looking good for the future."

When asked if he could appreciate Tamou's move as a career decision, with Australian State of Origin players earning between $30-40,000 a series, Smith was adamant that would not be enough of a draw for him to disregard the silver fern of New Zealand.

"Not for me it's not. Definitely not. I'm proud of where I come from and when I was growing up all I wanted to do was pull on the black and white jersey and play for the Kiwis.

"I've been lucky enough to do so a few times now so I wouldn't change anything."