22nd October 2018, 12:13 | englandrl

Stacey Jones expecting tough England test

Stacey Jones expecting tough England test

Stacey Jones is no stranger to the European game, having played a key part of Catalans Dragons maiden season, appearing for Les Dracs in a Challenge Cup final in 2007. 

He now returns to England as a part of the New Zealand coaching staff and noted the difference between fans on this side of the world to their counterparts Down Under. 

“Their very vocal, if you compare the Super League to the NRL, the fans are boisterous and loud, they give it to the opposition teams a bit more. 

“They get right behind their team and they appreciate good football. That’s what we want to bring – a game that supporters can appreciate.”

The Kiwis come into the series on the back of a 26-24 win against World Champions Australia and believed the partnership between Shaun Johnson and Kodi Nikorima was pivotal to the win.

“I thought the team did the little things really well, they ran the ball, got to the end of their sets and put the pressure on Australia. We kicked into the corners and defended pretty well. 

“Shaun’s leadership has been good and him and Kodi combine very well together. It’s exciting to see two players gel like that, I thought they put pressure on Australia really well and probably controlled the game better than the Australian key players.” 

Jones believes that England will be tough opposition but winning in Europe will represent something special for his side. 

“We know it’s going to be tough and England have a lot of players that play in the NRL so they know what it’s about. 

“Some of my best moments as a player were here playing because when you have success it’s pretty enjoyable.”

This international season will be the first for new Kiwi Head Coach Michael Maguire, who will be familiar to fans on this side of the world for his time with Wigan Warriors.

Jones believes he has all the credentials to be revive the Kiwis, who exited the last World Cup in the Quarter Final stage.

“He’s a very passionate man – you get the feeling he hates losing. He wants success, I think he built some really good foundations first week. There’s a group of us coaches who want to learn and develop from Madge.”