Rugby League: Endacott's Kiwis seize the moment
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Tuesday 02 November 1999
With the nation still in a state of shock over events at Twickenham, the rugby league side that is used to living in the All Blacks' shadow can earn a new level of acclaim by giving the public here a winning team - and a winning team over Australia at that.
"I don't want to put pressure on our guys and I won't be drumming it up that much, but the fact is that this has become a very, very important match for us," said the Kiwi coach, Frank Endacott, about the Tri-Series final in Auckland this Friday.
"What has happened to the All Blacks has made it a two-fold thing for us if we can win, so it has become the most important game for the Kiwis for 20 years. "It would give us such a boost, because everything in New Zealand has traditionally revolved around the All Blacks."
The Kiwis have been on the verge before of breaking through to a gain higher sporting profile in New Zealand, notably in the 1980s when they beat Australia under Graham Lowe and reached the World Cup final, only to lose to the Kangaroos.
They have already beaten Australia once in this series and, although they have not beaten them in back-to-back Tests for more than 50 years, the rewards for doing so this time are great. Endacott has been playing down the status of the game as a world title decider, but if the Kiwis can win most people in New Zealand and Australia would regard them as the champion side in the game, at least until next year's World Cup.
Neither side reports any major injury problems going into the showdown at Ericsson Stadium. The Australian prop, Rodney Howe, has passed a fitness test on his knee before travelling with the squad to Auckland, while the goal-kicking winger, Mat Rogers, delayed his departure because he is about to become a father.
The New Zealand Maori team which is due to face a chastened Great Britain side in the curtain-raiser is having even more problems than its opposition in raising a convincing line-up.
Their coach, Cameron Bell, once in charge at Carlisle, said that they were only told they were required to play last Saturday; gathering a team together has been difficult since some players had been unable to break away from pre-season with their Australian clubs. "It has caused a bit of a panic and it could be that only three of the 17 will have played for me before," he said.
The New Zealand forward David Lomax, who played for Newcastle Knights this year, has agreed to join the newly merged Huddersfield and Sheffield Super League club. John Kear, the coach, will secure the signature of the 29-year-old back-row man before he leaves Auckland this week.
Latest in Sport
Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Arsenal transfer targets: The summer signings that would please Thierry Henry, including Sami Khedira and Edinson Cavani
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Thierry Henry 'singles out' Mesut Ozil, picking up on the Arsenal midfielder's embarrassing stats
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...
£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...