Bravehearts seek to restore pride
4 November, 2017, 12:00 am
After feeling the full brunt of a star-studded Tonga team in the opening week of the World Cup, Scotland have plenty to prove this Saturday night against the Kiwis in Christchurch.
The Bravehearts were punished 50-4 in Cairns, leaking 12 line breaks and nine tries to suffer their heaviest defeat in almost nine years.
Hooker Kane Bentley, who made his first appearance at a World Cup for Scotland in the loss, admitted the result had delivered a crushing blow to confidence levels within the squad, but backed them to put in a much-improved performance against New Zealand.
“The pride was hurt. Fifty points, that’s what hurts the most,” Bentley told NRL.com.
“Everybody was upset obviously, but we have had to move on. It’s a big game this weekend and the boys will be focused on playing against the Kiwis.
“It is what it is and it wasn’t our day, Tonga just did the job.
“They scored some good tries but they got some easy ones as well.
“There were a couple of mistakes from us which they scored straight after, there was an intercept, stuff like that.
“But we have belief in ourselves, now it’s up to us to go out there and make the difference and be better than last week.”
Bentley said the job wouldn’t get any easier in week two, believing the Kiwis will present an even bigger challenge than Tonga did in attack.
New Zealand ran in seven tries in a 38-8 win over Samoa to open their campaign, finding some success off the back of an open style which saw them offload 16 times.
“New Zealand’s attack is good. It’s better than Tonga’s, they have more shape in attack, they have more than Tonga do from the technical and everything they do is more fluid,” Bentley said.
“It’s going to be interesting with them bringing some new guys in. They are going to give their all and want to make a point.
“We have got to hang in there that first 20 minutes; it’s going to be an arm wrestle through that first part, if we can hold them then we can go another 20 and attack it phase-by-phase through the game.”