Ashton Golding hails Jamaica’s ’17 leaders’ despite heavy New Zealand defeat

Ashton Golding hails Jamaica’s ’17 leaders’ despite heavy New Zealand defeat

Jamaica captain Ashton Golding praised his players for the way they approached their 68-6 defeat to New Zealand as Ben Jones-Bishop marked his 300th career appearance with his country’s first try of the World Cup finals.

The experienced Sheffield Eagles full-back, who made his name in Super League with Leeds Rhinos, crossed late in the game to spark wild celebrations on the pitch and in the 6,829 crowd at the MKM Stadium.

Jones-Bishop scored the Reggae Warriors’ first try of the competition but it was New Zealand who took two points from a Pool C contest to all but secure their place in the quarter-finals.

Golding also praised his players for how they kept going to the end of what had been a tough contest.

Golding, who plays for Huddersfield in Super League, said: “As a player I like to go into games fully focused on ourselves. We did ourselves proud in areas, effort and attitude-wise you can’t knock it.

“Going into the game it was all about us. What we can do on the field and what we can do off the field.

“Hopefully we can capture people’s imaginations, from one to 17 I’m so proud of the boys. There were 17 leaders out there.

“Really happy with the way we came through at the end. We stuck at it and we got something from the game.”

Despite the heavy defeat, Golding was delighted to see full-back Jones-Bishop get his country’s first try on their debut in the World Cup finals.

Golding said: “There can’t be a more fitting person to score the try and cap his 300th appearance.”

Jamaica lead coach Jermaine Coleman echoed Golding’s words about Jones-Bishop.

Coleman said: “There is not a more fitting person amongst our group to get that try. It’s an amazing moment for him. We wanted to make this a special occasion for him.”

New Zealand wing Dallin Watene-Zelezniak scored four of his side’s tries as the Kiwis crossed 13 times in total, but did not let the feat go to his head.

He said of his performance: “It was some fun times out there. I haven’t had a game like that in a while.”

New Zealand had been far from their best in their opening pool victory over Lebanon and head coach Michael Maguire was pleased to see them up their performance against Jamaica.

Maguire said: “We talked about our combinations from our last performance. We scored some really good tries. We got a lot out of it.

“It was more about playing in the style that we wanted to and the points came off the back of that.

“There were areas in the Lebanon game (to improve). To score the tries the way we did showed we were getting better. I thought our defence was really strong at times.”

New Zealand were without stand-off Dylan Brown due to illness and Maguire was pleased with the way his side coped.

Maguire said: “The crew are pretty good at adjusting to what’s thrown at them. The boys just do what they need to for each other.”

Captain James Fisher-Harris added of his side’s win: “It’s a special moment with the boys turning up for me. It was all in all just a good performance from the boys.”