Which Jayhawks will be the toughest opponent to stop this season?
Posted May 07, 2018 08:12:16A little more than a month after the All Blacks won the Rugby Championship, the Jayhawks have yet to make a mark in their return to the top of the New Zealand rankings.
After an encouraging season that saw them win their first two games, New Zealand’s top-ranked side has struggled to take their foot off the gas in 2017, and they’re hoping their second-half comeback in Auckland on Saturday night will help to turn things around.
But while their current form is certainly not encouraging, the Kangaroos are still confident they can be a threat in the final quarter of matches against the All Black side.
Auckland was one of the biggest upsets in rugby league history when it took on the All Blues, and it will be interesting to see how the All Blue’s recent history will affect the Kiwis’ preparations for Saturday night.
“They are very talented and they are very aggressive and they have a lot of speed in their game,” New Zealand coach Brendon Gale told reporters.
“If they do get past us in the last quarter, I think it’s going to be a very, very tough contest.”
The Kangaroo have won three of their past five matches, including a 26-10 triumph over the Hurricanes in Auckland in May.
But even with their recent success, the Kiwi side has only just started the 2017 campaign and is yet to face any opposition that can be counted on to match their speed and strength.
“We’re looking forward to playing them, so hopefully we’ll see them very early on this year,” Gale said.
“Hopefully they will be very, well prepared and hopefully they can show us what they can do.”
Rugby league is a highly physical game, and the All Stars will be looking to frustrate the Kiwic side as much as possible, with Gale hoping to create a little chaos on the scoreboard with their quick break, which has seen them score two tries in their last four games.
“I think we’re all expecting a little bit of a little disruption on the field with the speed of our forwards and how fast we can move around the field,” Gale added.
“So we’ll be trying to create as much chaos as we can and hopefully we can get some tries.”
The All Blacks are looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2016 season, and have a great chance of keeping their spot in the top eight, but Gale admits it’s a tough task to beat them.
“It’s an unbelievable team, it’s got so many great players and it’s such a tough team to play against,” Gale admitted.
“But we’ve had to do a lot to get to this point and I think the challenge is just to come out and play like a team.”
“It’ll be great to get a win, but the most important thing is that we come out on top and hopefully put ourselves in a position where we can be competitive in the next two weeks.”
Follow the All Star squad at: www.allstarrugby.com/live