Kiwis laugh off talk that winning field goal missed posts
THE Kiwis have no doubts about Shaun Johnson's match-winning field goal against England, despite some recent speculation about its accuracy.
In the last few days several Australian media organisations have questioned whether the shot, which the Kiwis halfback potted from 12 metres out almost directly in front, went inside the upright.
Video has since circulated, spreading rapidly through social media, which some claim shows the ball drifts wide.
But Johnson and his teammates laughed off those suggestions after the Kiwis completed a training session at Manchester City's Etihad Campus.
"Social media says a lot of things these days,” Johnson said. "I guess I had the best view out of anyone and it went over. I don't think any of the players complained on the field.
"There was five English players standing in front of the posts and they jogged back to halfway so why it becomes an issue after the game is all done I'm not sure.”
Back-rower Tohu Harris was just as incredulous at the suggestion that the snap wasn't on target, admitting that it had caused some amusement among the team.
"We had a laugh about that - it definitely went over,” Harris said.
"There were a few of us right there; I was standing right next to him when he took it and as soon as it went over we ran back for the kick-off. There was no second thought about it. We were just surprised that people threw that out there. It definitely went over.”
The Kiwis have started the serious business of preparing to face the Kangaroos on Sunday (6am AEST) in Coventry, in a match that could decide top spot at the end of the round-robin phase.
After taking two days to recover from Saturday's brutal game, the Kiwis had their first session of the week at Manchester City's Etihad Campus. It was a light workout, with some skills work, wrestling and kicking, along with some possession-based games.
There was also - in a nod to the unique setting - some soccer drills, after the Manchester City staff provided some footballs. There was a penalty competition, where Jason Taumalolo showed some impressive agility as a goalkeeper, while Martin Taupau hit some left-foot thunderbolts from long distance.
Veteran winger Jason Nightingale took no part in the session, remaining on the sideline for treatment on his injured ankle. He remains a day-to-day proposition, though will be given every chance to play, with the team to be named on Friday (AEST).
Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (knee strain) is also on the casualty list and watched from the sideline, though his injury is not believed to be as serious as Nightingale's.
"We have got a squad here where you feel like anyone who steps into that role, they are going to deliver,” Johnson said. "Everyone is preparing to play. Hopefully they are right and ready to go on the weekend.”
The Kiwis have one more session in Manchester, before making the 140km trip down the M6 to Birmingham, their base in the Midlands ahead of Sunday's Test in Coventry.