Gary Kemble - Coaching Career - 2007 Kiwi Tour of Great Britain and France

2007 Kiwi Tour of Great Britain and France

Under Kemble the Kiwis went on to lose the first of their three test series against Great Britain going down 14-20 against the Lions at Huddersfield on 27 October 2007. Following the loss an Australian newspaper reported that former Kiwi captain Hugh McGahan was concerned at Kemble's poor start and suggested that former Australian and current Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett should be pursued for the role. McGahan later claimed that his comments had been grossly misreported by the journalist.

In the second test of the series on 3 November 2007, Kemble returned to Hull where he had spent a large portion of his playing days with Hullalbeit to the newly built KC Stadium rather than The Boulevard where Hull FC played prior to it being built. It was to be a disastrous homecoming however as the Kiwis suffered their second humiliating defeat under Kemble when beaten 44-0 by an inspired Great Britain. The win gave Great Britain an unassailable series lead leaving the Kiwis with only pride to play for in the final test at JJB Stadium in Wigan.

Intense criticism followed the 2nd Test loss, some of it directed at the players, some of it toward the management of the NZRL, however Kemble also copped severe criticism from some quarters with one commentator suggesting that Kemble "must be sacked at the series-end" and describing him as a "captain of calamity". Following the loss, Kiwi's captain Roy Asotasi hinted at the possibility of internal issues for the players in adjusting to Kemble's coaching style when he compared Kemble's approach with that of his predecessor McClennan describing them as "very different" and reporting that the group was "still trying to gel". Following the loss in an extremely frank admission Kemble acknowledged that he was contemplating resigning from his post if the Kiwis were whitewashed 3-0 by Great Britain.

Despite a far more spirited performance in the 3rd Test the Kiwis were unable to prevent the whitewash losing 22-28 after leading 12-0 early in the match. Kemble was forthright in expressing his desire to remain Kiwi coach following the loss with the general feeling being that the loss was "close enough" for him to retain the position. Kemble was the subject of some ridicule for post-match comments which suggested that the Kiwis "almost won the test series" despite an aggregated score of 92-36 across the three tests.

The Kiwis beat France in the final test match of the tour 22-16 giving captain Roy Asotasi his first win as Kiwi captain.

Read more about this topic:  Gary Kemble, Coaching Career

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