Kiwi leaders expect lift from team ahead of English clash
KIWIS coach Stephen Kearney is expecting improvements across the board from his team when it takes on England in tonight's crucial Four Nations clash in Dunedin.
Dissatisfied with his team's performance in last weekend's narrow win over Samoa in Whangarei, Kearney believes his players are determined to rectify things at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
"The onus is on everybody to step up," Kearney said. "We weren't satisfied with our performance last week against Samoa so the onus is on everyone. The forwards felt they could have done better and so did the backs, but we're all in the same boat and we all need to improve."
The Kiwis had taken some valuable lessons out of the Toll Stadium match and Kearney felt an improved attitude had been evident throughout the build-up to tonight's game.
"There have certainly been some lessons for us," he said.
"I've certainly seen a change in that attitude so it's a matter of making sure ... It's going to take a 17-man performance tomorrow night against a very good English side."
Captain Simon Mannering echoed those sentiments and believes the Kiwis had benefited from what was a tightly fought and highly physical encounter against Samoa.
Any complacency that had crept in after their first-up win over Australia was gone and an improved focus had been instilled over the past six days.
"Samoa put us under a lot of pressure and it was probably a good game for us to play, after the boys were pretty pumped after the win against Aussie, to put things back in perspective," Mannering said.