Lord revels in debut on US soil


Plucked from the Taranaki Bunnings NPC squad to make the tour, Lord said it was something he would never forget. The United States had set a standard of measure for his rugby future.

"It's hard to explain the emotions building up to the game, but the boys looked after me, and we've got a great set of coaches who helped a lot too," he said.

The FedEx Stadium experience was like nothing he had felt before.

"Coming from New Zealand, it's definitely a lot quieter, and walking into the stadium today, the crowd was just unreal," he said.

Playing wise, he said he felt a mixture of excitement and nerves.

"I just tried to nail my job, but the boys have been looking after me, as I was probably running round like a headless chicken sometimes," he said.

Meanwhile, fullback Damian McKenzie said the side made the most of the space on offer in the tour-opening 104-14 over the USA Eagles but was mindful it was something unlikely to be repeated in their four Tests in Britain and Europe over the next month against Wales, Italy, Ireland and France.

McKenzie said: "It is great being an outside [back] and getting a bit of ball in space. There wasn't a whole lot of space against South Africa, Argentina and the Aussies, and there was a bit more today. It's the footy you love to play – getting your hands on the ball."

Being an afternoon game also helped with a dry ball.

"There was space we tried to get the ball to, and it's fun. We love that as backs. Even Lordy [debut replacement lock Josh Lord] was out there running through big holes. It's the rugby I like to play.

"We put a performance out on the park today we're proud of.

"We showed some great glimpses of rugby through the whole 80 minutes. The way we started was great, we scored some good tries, but we know we're going to meet some tough[er] opposition," he said.

The European and British, and Irish sides would be different. Their style of rugby would ensure plenty of defensive line speed when the All Blacks attacked.

"We know we have to keep getting better, and have to keep building. But this gives us plenty of confidence which we're stoked with," he said.


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