Playing for Kiwis an 'easy decision' for Foran

ON FORM: Kiwis playmaker and vice captain Kieran Foran.
ON FORM: Kiwis playmaker and vice captain Kieran Foran.

James Tamou says he doesn't regret choosing the Kangaroos and Kieran Foran feels likewise about being loyal to the country of his birth.

The Kiwis vice captain has no regrets about choosing to represent the Kiwis rather than play State of Origin and for the Kangaroos, which with his talents he may well have done by now.

The 23-year-old five-eighth, who moved to Australia as a boy and speaks with an Australian accent, would have been eligible to play for the Kangaroos but instead threw his lot in with the Kiwis.

It has meant he hasn't been able to earn as much money as Origin players and he'll never be in a side that's favourites to win the World Cup. Instead, he'll be in the Kiwis team this weekend that will need to be at their very best to have any hope of beating the Kangaroos.

But despite all of this, he says he doesn't feel like he's missed out or made a mistake throwing his allegiance towards New Zealand.

"It was an easy decision," Foran said. "For me it's about staying true to who you are and what you love.

"As a kid, nothing meant more to me than rolling out of bed, throwing the boots on and wishing one day that I could play for the Kiwis.

"When the time came to make that call when I stepped into first grade it was simple for me, I wanted to be a Kiwi, that's where my heart is and that's where I was born.

"This would be huge for me, to win a World Cup is something that I've dreamt about my whole life."

Foran's views on playing for New Zealand couldn't be more opposite to those of Josh Papalii and Tamou, who are both New Zealand born, but controversially opted to play for Australia.

Last week the Kiwis' Kevin Locke hit out at Tamou for choosing Australia after having previously played for NZ Maori, but Foran wasn't so critical.

"Everyone's got their own decisions to make," he said. "James would have his own personal reasons why he decided to go that way, just like I decided to go my way. You let people make whatever decision makes them the happiest."

Depending on selections, there could be just one player in the Kangaroos side that played in this year's NRL Grand Final, Foran's Manly team-mate Daly Cherry-Evans, while there could be as many as six in the Kiwis team.

Foran believes that having played in such a massive game so recently should give the Kiwis an advantage.

"The more guys in your team that have played in big games the better," Foran said. "We've got a handful of guys who were involved in the grand final this year and most of the boys in the team have played in either a grand final or World Cup final and that experience will help come Saturday."

When the Kiwis and Kangaroos met in April's Anzac test in Canberra the home side were victorious 32-12. However, the score at the break was 6-6, with the Kiwis playing the better footy.

Foran says the team will need to emulate that level of intensity over the whole of the final, which kicks off at 3.30am on Sunday morning.

"We have taken a lot of confidence out of that," he said. "We definitely feel that in the first 40 minutes we were the better team and had a bit more luck gone our way or a few refereeing decisions, we'd have been up by 12-18 points.

"We look at that half and that was good, but at the end of the day we ended up getting touched up in the second half and not finishing the game the way we wanted.

"So 40 minutes isn't going to be good enough in a World Cup final, we know that to beat Australia we're going to have to play even better than we did against England and do it for the full 80."

Fairfax Media