Kiwis' future promising despite RLWC exit

Nov 19, 2017 - 2:51 AM New Zealand coach David Kidwell says there's plenty of potential for the future despite their early exit from the Rugby League World Cup.

Kidwell's own future is up in the air after the Kiwis' campaign finished early in Wellington on Saturday when they were beaten 4-2 in the quarter-finals by Fiji.

An independent panel review of all the management roles will begin next week, with the aim of delivering a final report in January.

Despite the disappointment of New Zealand's early World Cup exit, Kidwell says there are still positives to take from the campaign.

He pointed to the development of young players such as Canberra second-rower Joe Tapine, 21-year-old hooker Danny Levi and Melbourne Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona.

"We've unearthed some young talent there," Kidwell said.

"I've seen Joe Tapine, how much he's grown; he's a future leader.

"Young Danny Levi, there were question marks over him or Issac Luke, and I thought he was exceptional throughout the whole campaign.

"You've got young Nelson, he still learning, he's only 21 and he'll learn from this experience."

After opening their World Cup campaign with comfortable wins over Scotland and Samoa, the Kiwis were beaten 28-22 by Tonga last week before falling to Fiji.

Still struggling to come to terms with the losses, Kidwell says he will take time out to think about whether he wants to continue as coach.

"I didn't get any sleep last night, and really thought about what I want to do, what I want to achieve as a coach," he said on Sunday morning.

"I have to really sit down and think. I know I've created something here at the start - it's whether I want to continue, or people will let me continue.

"At the end of the day, I'll do what's best for the jersey."

New Zealand Rugby League chief Alex Hayton says the losses were disappointing, and admits they would damage the Kiwis' brand.

"It's not what anyone wanted but we'll go through the process and understand where we can do better," he said.

"It will have an impact on the game. If you're trying to get people to play rugby league and aspire to be Kiwis, then having a successful international team is an important part of that," he said.

"You could say the brand has been damaged, but if they come back and they're winning next year, then it re-establishes.

"We're all passionate about our sports, and we all want our national teams to do well, and sometimes you've got to take the hits with the successes."

Source: AAP

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