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Kiwis reflect on 'humbling' Jamaica experience

In the immediate aftermath of Sunday morning's match between New Zealand and Jamaica, players from the Reggae Warriors looked nothing like a group who had just been beaten by 62 points.

For those who took the field on a historic day for Jamaican rugby league, it wasn't about the result, which was always going to go the way of the Kiwis, but rather a day to soak up the opportunity to face the No.1 ranked side in the world, and exchange jerseys with some of the NRL's biggest stars.

"It was quite a funny moment there where you saw all of them running around saying 'I got this player, I got that player'," Kiwis coach Michael Maguire said of the Jamaican players after the game.  

"It just shows the respect. There was a fair bit of history being made out there."

Celebrations galore as Jamaica score

That history included Jamaica scoring their first ever World Cup try, fittingly touched down by national team stalwart Ben Jones-Bishop, who was also playing his 300th professional game. 

Led by first-time skipper James Fisher-Harris, the New Zealand players joined Jones-Bishop's teammates in forming a guard of honour for the 34-year-old as he left the field. 

"We thought it would be a good gesture to do that for their fullback. It's pretty special, they have created history being in this World Cup," Fisher-Harris said. 

It was quite humbling to be honest. They have so much respect for us and were saying how much they idolise us playing in the NRL.

James Fisher-Harris

"They were just so happy to get our jerseys."

Pleasantries aside, the Kiwis showed improvement from their clunky first-up victory over Lebanon, even after losing five-eighth Dylan Brown to illness on the morning of the game. 

Jones-Bishop on his history-making try

Veteran wing Dallin Watene-Zelezniak delivered a reminder of what he is capable of with a brilliant showing that included a record-equaling four tries, while stand-in fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad also impressed. 

Maguire said he was pleased with what he saw, as combinations continue to come together for his side ahead of their final group game against Ireland.

"To see the tries scored the way we did, it shows that our connections are getting stronger," Maguire said. 

"I thought our defence was really strong at times, so it was good.

"It was pleasing to see we put on some really good tries and we moved the ball around the way we wanted to."

DWZ on fire in Hull

Meanwhile the Kiwis look set to be without both Marata Niukore (pectoral) and Moses Leota (hamstring) for at least the Ireland match, after both were unable to take part in the second half.

"We will have to get them scanned first to find out the severity of it, but I think they might miss one or two [games]," Maguire said. 

Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.