Kiwis boss Kidwell thrilled with defensive display

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David Kidwell thought New Zealand's 17-16 Four Nations victory over hosts England was a great advert for rugby league and was thrilled with his side's defensive display in Huddersfield.

The Kiwis started the defence of their title by edging a gripping encounter on Saturday courtesy of a Shaun Johnson drop goal 15 minutes from time.

The half-back, who scored the decisive try and conversion to consign England to a World Cup semi-final defeat at Wembley three years ago, also dotted down in the second half in another influential display.

Jordan Rapana claimed a double either side of Johnson's intercept score, but tries from Jermaine McGillvary and Ryan Hall as well as eight points from the boot of Gareth Widdop put England in front.

Johnson had the final say, though, and Kiwis head coach Kidwell thought both sides should take great credit for an entertaining spectacle.

"It was an outstanding performance. What a great Test match, both teams need to hold their head up high. That's what Test match rugby league is all about, it's a war of attrition. I thought both teams were outstanding." he told BBC Sport.

"The most pleasing thing was our defence, it's something that we stand for in our house and we always want our defence to be strong.

"I thought England came out firing, we knew they would and we knew we had to build up on our sets and had a high completion."

Widdop said England must learn the harsh lessons from a defeat in their first competitive game under Wayne Bennett.

"I thought we started the game really well and were on the front foot. A little bit of discipline let us down and they got into the game." he said.

"We got back into it second half again, we just weren't good enough in the end. 

"We created two or three opportunities right close to the line, we just couldn't get the ball over but that's rugby league and you've got to respond to that. In the end a field goal separated the match, which is disappointing but we've got a lot of belief in this team moving forward."

Widdop added: "They are a good quality team and when you give them penalties, as we did, they capitalise. We certainly need to fix our discipline but we are a confident set of lads, we will stick together and move forward to next week."