Kearney disappointed following series defeat

Stephen Kearney believes New Zealand didn’t reach the levels expected of them in the third test against England.

The Kiwis were second best as they suffered another test defeat on English soil, despite a late comeback to scare the hosts.

It was a performance that left Kearney downbeat after the game.

“I’m disappointed,” he said.

“It’s certainly not a case of frustration, just more disappointed. I didn’t think we played our best game today; the contest was like the entire series. It was a real see-saw affair but I didn’t think we produced our best game.

“What I did like is that they had some resolve about them in the first half, I thought England had a lot of pressure on us in both halves – but we just made life hard for ourselves.”

Elliot Whitehead goes in for one of his two tries
Elliot Whitehead goes in for one of his two tries

“I certainly don’t want to take anything away from England; they’ve been wonderful all series and there genuinely wasn’t much between the teams in the games. It was the same last week and the same today – but I thought they handled things a fair bit better than us today.”

“There was never any doubting the individuals, their ability and their talent. Regardless of who is given the responsibility of wearing our jumper, we have a certain expectation to perform, but I don’t think we reached that today. Regardless of who’s here and who’s not, I don’t think we played the way we could have today.”

Attentions now turn to the Four Nations next year, and Kearney believes this series will prove beneficial for his side in the long run.

“There’s some young guys here who need to take a lesson from the campaign in the sense that Test match football is a tough affair.

“There are individuals involved in this campaign who’ll have gained a lot of experience, but I still have an expectation that we could have won the series, but we didn’t play well enough. They handled the situation better than us. Every tournament is a stepping stone towards building for a good World Cup but you still want to win every game you play.

“I’ve made things clear regarding my selection policy; if i think they can get the job done I’ll pick them. Form determines a lot of that and what they’ve done for the group in the past also has a say. I thought they executed their last play options better than us; they consistently had Roger picking the ball up close to his try line.”