Rugby League World Cup 2022: Tedesco’s ticket ahead of semi-finals | Tech US News

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Kangaroos captain James Tedesco seen here speaking to the media at the Rugby League World Cup.

Kangaroos captain James Tedesco says he has learned from past mistakes ahead of the Rugby League World Cup semi-final against New Zealand. Image: Getty

James Tedesco admits he overdid it in the past as Kangaroos captain and has vowed to play his natural game at Australia’s Rugby World Cup semi-final clash against New Zealand on Saturday morning (AEDT).

The Kangaroos meet the Kiwis after beating Lebanon in the quarter-finals with New Zealand overcome fear in victory over Fiji in the last eight.

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Kangaroos’ damaging prop Campbell-Gillard is set to return to the Aussies’ squad as a major boost for Mal Mening’s side, who are eyeing a Kiwi victory in their clash across the Tasman.

Tedesco says while the Kiwis were far from convincing against Fiji, the Australian side are bracing themselves for a response from a New Zealand side who need no extra motivation against their bitter rivals.

“They probably looked at that game instead of focusing on that game and they weren’t at their best, but I know 100 percent that they’ll be ready this week,” Tedesco said.

“We expect them to come out and definitely be the best. It will definitely be our toughest challenge yet and it will be an 80-minute game for us.”

New Zealand didn’t take the lead until the last 10 minutes against Fiji and Meninga has warned his side they will face a different prospect this week.

In this picture, New Zealand players celebrate their victory over Fiji in the quarter-finals of the Rugby League World Cup.

New Zealand players celebrate their victory over Fiji in the quarter-finals of the Rugby League World Cup. Image: Getty

“They’ve probably woken up and that would give them back their motivation,” the Kangaroos coach said.

“Without being disrespectful, it’s been a pretty easy ride for the top teams in this tournament. That’s probably why they’ve found they need to settle down.

“We are under no illusions about the challenge ahead, they have a really good team who will want to play well. We have to fight through that to get to the top.”

James Tedesco promises to play a natural game

Tedesco says he has “learned a lesson” from past matches at international level, where the superstar full-back admits he may have tried to do too much as captain.

“I’ve learned that as a captain, especially with the Roosters and Origin, you can definitely carry the weight of the team at times,” he said.

“When I do that, it gets in the way of my performance, so I’ve learned over the last few years that being captain is just being who I am, playing my foot and leading with my actions and words.

“When I do that, that’s when I play my best and the team follows me. I definitely learned my lesson there.”

The Australian captain insists the return of Reagan Campbell-Gillard from a hamstring complaint will add a vital level of aggression and experience to the Kangaroos side.

“Reg is a big player, he had a massive year for Parramatta. He is just a leader who goes forward and when he carries the ball, everyone wants to carry it as hard as he does,” Tedesco said.

“He’s leading by example and we’ve missed him, but the pack of Kiwis is very strong and it’s not just about Reg, it’s down to the whole pack to stand up to them and get behind them.”

Pictured centre, Kangaroos prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard tackles Scotland.

Kangaroos prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard returns from a hamstring injury for the semi-final against New Zealand. Image: Getty

The Parramatta forward will be tasked with overcoming a Kiwi side that boasts a formidable forward line including Nelson Asofa-Solomona, James Fisher-Harris and Moses Leota.

“He’s experienced, he was there in 2017 as well. He’s the leader of the pack and he’s looking forward to playing,” added Meninga.

“He was unlucky last week, but he is an important cog in our group who brings us that aggression.”

Meninga has confirmed Ben Hunt will start at hooker, with Melbourne No.9 Harry Grant expected to come off the bench in what could spell the end of Kangaroos Daly Cherry-Evans’ career.

Australia have won 14 of their 15 World Cup matches against the Kiwis, with their only defeat coming in the decider in 2008.

Tedesco revealed his side will face a boomerang-shaped haka and says he is relishing the battle against Kiwi superstar and Roosters teammate Joseph Manu.

“I’d like to go against him, he’s their main man. He’s a big part of their team and he does so much work for them that it’s going to be a big job defensively if we keep him quiet,” Tedesco said.

“Their whole backbone can create anything and get their team going.”

with AAP

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