Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney admits Shaun Johnson is down on form ahead of Friday’s trans-Tasman Test against Australia.
But Kearney believes Johnson is again the key to a New Zealand victory, which would be their fourth win on the trot over the Kangaroos.
“I think we were all in this position 12 months ago talking about Shaun and his form and I thought he came out in that Test match and was close to the best player on the park,” Kearney said.
“I have seen enough of Shaun to know what he is capable of. He is going to have a pretty handy group of forwards driving the ball forward for him and creating some space and I know Shaun will enjoy the opportunity to play on the back of that.
“So what I am saying is that I’m not particularly concerned with what Shaun has done in the previous weeks. I know if we get into the position that we want to get into he will be fine.”
In the absence of Kieran Foran, Tohu Harris will partner Johnson in the Kiwi halves.
“I know Shaun and Tohu will do a great job for us. We will really take the contest to them on Friday night,” Kearney said.
Kearney also backed Australia’s probably move to introduce a war dance for next year’s world cup as an answer to New Zealand’s haka.
“I think it would be wonderful recognition of the indigenous history of the game,” he said.
“I say bring it on it. I would love it.”