Kiwi coach Kidwell mellows over Taumalolo affair

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    Time heals all wounds – even those inflicted by rampaging 113-kilogram Tongan forwards.

    New Zealand coach David Kidwell has moved to bury the hatchet with defector Jason Taumalolo, saying he’d be happy to chat with the Mate Ma’a lock after their Rugby League World Cup clash in Hamilton on Saturday.

    Auckland-born Toumalolo sent shockwaves through Kidwell’s camp when he turned his back on the Kiwis on the eve of the competition to link with Tonga.

    Kidwell was initially incensed by the decision but has mellowed since his side’s two dominant pool victories over Samoa and Scotland.

    He says he’d be more than willing to speak with Taumalolo and fellow defectors David Fusitu’a, Manu Ma’u and Sio Siua Taukeiaho post-match.

    “You know, time heals I suppose. Jason’s playing for Tonga and we’ve got guys playing for New Zealand. If the opportunity arises and I get the chance to talk to him, 100 per cent I will,” Kidwell told reporters on Tuesday.

    “We just have to focus on us, our energy, and where that needs to be.”

    Kidwell admitted being impressed by the efforts of Mate Ma’a in their opening two games, sweeping aside Scotland 50-4 and Toa Samoa 32-18.

    His Kiwis would approach the Pool B crunch match in their usual way, without any extra animosity or fire in the belly but would nevertheless remain on high alert for Taumalolo’s indefatigable running game.

    The 24-year-old has made a combined 366 Cup metres with ball-in-hand.

    “It’s about limiting his metres,” Kidwell said.

    “He’s obviously the form forward in the game.

    “We’re nice and relaxed and not tapping into any emotion or anything, just preparing the way we have been for the last three weeks.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (43)

    • November 8th 2017 @ 1:10am
      Terry Tavita said | November 8th 2017 @ 1:10am | ! Report

      very quiet build-up to this game compared to last week’s clash with samoa..wish it was tonga vs nz maori..such a game would provide better atmosphere..

      • November 9th 2017 @ 12:26pm
        shinobi said | November 9th 2017 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

        11 out of the 17 are Maori (or at lest maori backgrounds) so it practically is.

    • Roar Rookie

      November 8th 2017 @ 8:09am
      up in the north said | November 8th 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      Kidwell would be a bit silly if he said anything that would serve as extra motivation for the big fella.

    • November 8th 2017 @ 8:46am
      Andrew said | November 8th 2017 @ 8:46am | ! Report

      Yeah he has mellowed after his team scored 70 points and won its first two games…
      If JT runs through them and causes an upset this weekend he may be less inclined to have a chat..

    • Roar Rookie

      November 8th 2017 @ 9:19am
      Hard Yards said | November 8th 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      This game should be a corker. Absent JT13 breaking his leg, he’s going to be a monster to deal with. The Tongans will be playing the game of their lives. Can’t wait for this one.

    • Roar Guru

      November 8th 2017 @ 9:49am
      Nat said | November 8th 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

      I think the Kiwis will account for Tonga reasonably easily. JT13 will do his usual and Jennings will pounce on any opportunities but the NZ have class across the board, better halves and kicking game. Tonga were only slightly better then Samoa last week. It’ll be good a good game and the NZ spine is getting better with every game. Martin seems to have really gone up again from the finals series.

      • November 8th 2017 @ 10:35am
        Fiji said | November 8th 2017 @ 10:35am | ! Report

        The Kiwis ran away with it towards the end against Samoa, but Samoa was pushing them in the first half.

        I do think the Kiwis deserve to be favourites for this, but this should be an enthralling game.

      • November 8th 2017 @ 1:19pm
        KenW said | November 8th 2017 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

        Looking forward to this one but agree that the upset is a slim chance. There’s no surprise ambush going on, NZ know who they are playing here and the obvious strong points in the Tongan side.

    • November 8th 2017 @ 1:10pm
      Cedric said | November 8th 2017 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

      thought Fonua-Blake may have come off the bench.
      Best game of the round me thinks.

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