Kiwis tame Lions and improve their depth

Daniel Richardson

Kiwis coach Michael Maguire is building a strong pool of players to call upon for international duty.

Despite being without the likes of Jesse Bromwich, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Nelson Asofa-Solomona for their tests with the Great Britain Lions, they were still able to notch a 2-0 series win.

They capped it off with a 23-8 victory in Christchurch on Saturday night with prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves among their best as he carried the load in the absence of props Bromwich and Asofa-Solomona.

Maguire said one of the key aspects of his job was to build depth.

"It's something I've been working at all along with the senior guys," Maguire said.

"But I think that's what's required at this level. I think the boys themselves are pushing the heights of where they want to go to."

The players likely won't assemble to pull on the black jersey again until June next year but Maguire said he expected his squad to be leaders at their respective clubs heading into the next NRL campaign.

"We want the Kiwis to be the best players in their teams when they go back to clubland."

New Zealand's series win over the Lions was their first since 1998 and Kiwis skipper Benji Marshall was one of their best during the victory in Christchurch.

"It's one I think the boys can really enjoy and to do it on home soil for us is something special," he said.

"I'm just really proud of the boys over the last couple of weeks; not just the way they've come together but themselves as a group on the field."