Thomas Leuluai reflects on New Zealand's Rugby League World Cup campaign and predicts a new era for the Kiwis
Thomas Leuluai believes there’ll be a new era of New Zealand rugby league in the next few years.
The Kiwis exited the Rugby League World Cup on Friday night, as they were defeated 16-14 by Australia in their semi-final tie at Elland Road.
Leuluai, who was part of Michael Maguire’s coaching staff, states only a couple of moments during the game stood between them and Old Trafford.
“It’s very disappointing,” he said.
“It was a good game of rugby, there were a couple of moments that we probably didn’t get right, and when you’re playing against a team like Australia it’s all they really need.
“For long periods of the game I thought we were in control, but it comes down to moments.
“We hadn’t really fully clicked in the tournament, but I always knew we would step up for these games with the calibre of players we’ve got.
“It’s just a bit disappointing that there were a few things we didn’t really get right and that was the end of it for us.
“The boys have already spoken about what’s next. We’ve got a lot of young boys coming through and they’ve been really good.
“It’s a new era for the Kiwi jersey hopefully and that’s what we’ve discussed.”
Former Wigan Warriors head coach Maguire also shared his disappointment after the game after a strong performance from his side.
“I’m proud of my players, that’s for sure,” he stated.
“That was one hell of a game. There were a couple of moments that could’ve gone either way, but unfortunately for the boys it didn’t go our way.
“I’m really super-proud of how they’ve gone about the tour and how they’ve come together as a group.
“There is a real brotherhood within the group and I believe they are closing the gap at this level in a big way.
“Our players being able to play more games at this level, they will learn how to find the moments that it takes to win it.
“Saying that, we had a couple of moments, that if they went our way, we would’ve been talking about a different story.”