Wigan Warriors-bound Jackson Hastings defends Great Britain's attack

Wigan-bound Jackson Hastings says Great Britain's attack in the defeat by Tonga was not as bad as they first thought.

Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 1:26 pm
Jackson Hastings facing Tonga last Saturday. Picture: SWPix

The Lions' much-anticipated first appearance for 12 years ended on an anti-climax with a 14-6 loss in their opening tour match in Hamilton last Saturday, where they were accused of lacking a cutting edge in attack.

But Hastings and fellow playmaker Gareth Widdop will get the chance to build on their half-back partnership after keeping their places in Wayne Bennett's team to take on the Kiwis in the first Test at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday.

"Everyone on the tour wants to play a game and for me I'm fortunate to get a second bite at the cherry," said the 2019 Super League Man of Steel, who is joining the Warriors next year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"It was a massive honour and a thrill the other night. Obviously not getting the result's very disappointing but we've touched on what we need to work on and it's pretty simple.

"They scored two very good tries but at the same time they were pretty off the cuff, they weren't structured, there was a lot of grubbers and offloads.

"With the ball, we didn't get it to the right spot when we needed to but, when we looked it back, it actually wasn't as bad as everyone first thought.

"Me and Gaz worked really hard in the week and it probably didn't look great from afar but, when we broke it down on video and actually looked at where we were on the field and the positions we were getting to and the shape we had, it was pretty good to be fair.

"I know that sounds funny when you're getting beat but we were in the right spots. The ball probably didn't get to us when we needed it and that's up to us to demand that ball when we want it.

"When we actually got the ball in our hands and were running at the line me and Gaz were creating opportunities but there probably wasn't enough times when we did that and that's something we've worked on already at training this week."

While Bennett keeps faith with his half-backs, New Zealand coach Michael Maguire has recalled veteran Kieran Foran after a two-year absence in place of Shaun Johnson, who took much of the blame for his side's disappointing performance in a 26-4 defeat by Australia.

"They've taken Shaun out and put a class, experienced player like Kieran in," Hastings said. "I don't know if they lose much.

"I think they'll probably be a lot more direct with Kieran in the team. He's a tough player, he plays deep in the line, he's hard to defend against and he's played a lot of Test matches for New Zealand.

"I don't think too much changes to their team. They had a bit of an off night last week against Australia but teams are always dangerous coming off a loss. We've got to be on our toes."