Toeava determined to bounce back
November 1, 2010
Australia's Kurtley Beale evades New Zealand's Isaia Toeava during their thrilling Bledisloe Cup clash in Hong Kong © Getty Images
New Zealand's Isaia Toeava has vowed to learn from his side's painful Bledisloe Cup loss to Australia in Hong Kong.
Toeava was singled out for criticism following Australia's thrilling 26-24 victory on Saturday with the versatile 24-year-old guilty of missing crucial tackles in the build up to second half tries by Drew Mitchell and James O'Connor.
The Auckland centre, a second half replacement for winger Cory Jane, is determined to bounce from the horror night on Halloween weekend and may well get the opportunity to atone for his errors with injury set to sideline Jane ahead of the clash with England at Twickenham this weekend.
"I think you just have to learn from a game like that and move forward," Toeava told ESPNscrum. "There is no point dwelling on it or it will always be in the back of your mind. The best thing to do is just make sure you learn from the experience and move forward."
Jane's rib complaint and a tour-ending knee injury for Sitiveni Sivivatu along with head coach Graham Henry's decision not to call out extra cover leaves Toeava, Joe Rokocoko and Hosea Gear battling for the two wing berths against England. And Toeava is looking for the earliest opportunity to restore faith in his talents.
"I can cover a few positions but I prefer to play at centre or fullback as that is where I am most comfortable," he added. "But you grab every opportunity you get to be an All Black so being involved, wherever it is on the field, is a bonus.
"I let myself down a bit on the weekend and the errors I made perhaps cost the team so I'm pretty disappointed. But I've got to leave it behind me and hopefully I will get another opportunity very soon."
Selected to tour after playing just two games for Auckland since undergoing hip surgery after this year's Super 14 campaign, Toeava is short of game time and believes that fact may have cost his side against their Trans-Tasman rivals.
"The boys' mental strength is still up there," he insisted, "but at the weekend there were a few boys who had not played since the last Tri-Nations game [on September 11] and the fact that they hadn't played any footy since then may not have helped.
"The game in Hong Kong was also pretty fast and a big step up from ITM Cup and Super Rugby. But the guys are still pretty confident and looking forward to playing England on Saturday."
Toeava tasted success on his last visit to Twickenham - appearing as a replacement in a 32-6 victory for the visitors. And while he acknowledges England's HQ is never an easy place to play he refuses to underestimate the challenge posed by Scotland, Ireland and Wales later this month.
"Twickenham is always a special place to play and I have fond memories of the last time I played there. I'm hoping we can win again this weekend but we know it is going to be tough. Playing England at Twickenham is always tough, especially when the crown get behind them.
"But all four games are going to be tough. Any team can turn up on a given day and play good footy and beat you. There is no easy game with Scotland, Ireland and Wales ahead of us so we'll just take it week by week."
Isaia Toeava was speaking to ESPNscrum.com on behalf of adidas - official partner of the All Blacks
For your opportunity to meet the All Blacks, head along to the adidas signing session at the RFU Store at Twickenham Stadium between 11.30am and 12.30pm this Friday, November 5.
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