Simple changes offer Jackson Hastings belief for positive Great Britain response

Jackson Hastings is confident Great Britain can bounce back against New Zealand after claiming their performance in the defeat by a Tongan Invitational XIII was not as bad as they thought.

Jackson Hastings, in action for Great Britain Lions against Tonga International XIII in Hamilton, New Zealand. Picture via

The Lions’ much-anticipated first appearance for 12 years ended on an anti-climax with a 14-6 loss in their opening tour match in Hamilton last Saturday, where they were accused of lacking a cutting edge in attack.

But Hastings and fellow playmaker Gareth Widdop will get the chance to build on their half-back partnership after keeping their places in Wayne Bennett’s team to take on the Kiwis in the first Test in Auckland on Saturday.

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“Everyone on the tour wants to play a game and for me I’m fortunate to get a second bite at the cherry,” said the 2019 Super League Man of Steel.

“It was a massive honour and a thrill the other night.

“Obviously not getting the result was very disappointing but we’ve touched on what we now need to work on and it’s pretty simple.

“They scored two very good tries but at the same time they were pretty off the cuff, they weren’t structured, there were a lot of grubbers and off-loads.

“With the ball, we didn’t get it to the right spot when we needed to but, when we looked it back, it actually wasn’t as bad as everyone first thought.”

While Bennett keeps faith with his half-backs, New Zealand coach Michael Maguire has recalled veteran Kieran Foran after a two-year absence in place of Shaun Johnson, who took much of the blame for his side’s disappointing performance in a 26-4 defeat by Australia.