Jamaica is preparing for its biggest challenge to date when the Reggae Warriors take on world #1 ranked New Zealand at #RLWC2021 this Saturday in Hull.
The Jamaicans are coming off a 46-point loss to Ireland in their opening match in Group C last weekend, while the Kiwis scored a win against Lebanon.
Jamaica first came onto the international rugby league scene back in 2009 when they debuted against the USA Tomahawks, as they were known then, in Jacksonville, Florida.
The Reggae Warriors went home with a loss in that match and since then, have gone on to post an overall win-loss-draw record of 6-17-3.
In that time, they have played France, Scotland, Wales, England Knights and South Africa, as well as many games against the US and Canada. But none of their previous opponents have been as formidable and daunting as the New Zealanders, who were rated among the pre-tournament favourites to win it all.
And that fact is not lost on the Jamaican head coach Romeo Monteith.
“We move forward to the New Zealand game with a positive mindset,” Monteith tells Rugby League Planet.
“We are here to play football to the best of our abilities.
“The key is to replicate for 80 minutes the effort and concentration we showed in stints in the Ireland game, and to get the ball over the try line when given half or full chances.”
On the flipside, New Zealand head coach Michael Maguire says fans can expect to see his team step things up against the Caribbean side.
“We don’t change our approach no matter who we’re playing,” Maguire says. “We know how excited the Jamaicans are being at the World Cup. It’s brilliant for them. Like any opponent, we won’t under-estimate them, but this game isn’t about who we’re playing. It’s about us and what we need to do.
“There are a lot of areas we need to improve in after our performance against Lebanon. We put a bit of pressure on at times, we were able to capitalise, but we didn’t stay at it long enough to be able to put more points on.
“This group has high standards, and those standards weren’t met against Lebanon. We expect to see a significant improvement this week.”
The match is scheduled for a 7:30pm (UK time) kickoff Saturday, at MKM Stadium in Hull.