Rugby League: Leeds Rhinos’ centre Watkins not too dismayed by second Test setback

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KALLUM WATKINS was disappointed, but not dismayed after England missed an opportunity to win the Test series against New Zealand.

After victory in the opening game, England were beaten 9-2 in the second Test at London’s Olympic Stadium, so the series will go down to a decider on Saturday at DW Stadium in Wigan.

Kallum Watkins

Kallum Watkins

The game two days ago was in the balance until the Kiwis went two scores ahead with a drop goal four minutes from time and Watkins – Leeds Rhinos’ player of the year – said: “I think we just tried too hard near the back end.

“Both teams started well, but they had a lot of field position and they were smart with it. They tested us out a lot of times. We are bitterly disappointed with losing, but full credit to New Zealand for how well they performed.

“But for us as well, defensively we were outstanding and saved a lot of tries. There were a lot of opportunities for them because they had a lot of field position, so that’s huge credit for us – we can take a positive out of that.

“With the ball, we were a bit too eager. We could have been a bit more patient and opportunities would have come.”

Watkins insisted he is confident England can bounce back to win the crucial game in five days’ time.

“It’s an exciting challenge,” he said. “Our focus is on that now.

“We have to move on [from last Saturday] now, it was a close, tight game and we are disappointed, but we have to move on pretty quickly and prepare as best we can this week.”

He added: “We have just got to do the smart stuff. They are a strong team, they are big fellas, they can offload and play off the cuff. We have to be able to deal with that.

“They will try it more and more and more. They were a more determined side [on Saturday] and for us, we’ve got to be well prepared, like we have been for the last few weeks.

“The opportunities will come, we’ve just got to be smart and patient and when we get our opportunities not try too hard.”

Watkins suffered a knock to a knee during the game, but said he was “fine” afterwards.

Jack Walker. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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