Kiwis captain Simon Mannering downplayed Martin Taupau’s aggressive throat-slitting gesture while paying tribute to his dynamic contribution off the bench in last night’s Anzac test win over the Kangaroos.
Taupau was a force to be reckoned with when he took the field after the first quarter, adding plenty of energy and enthusiasm to the Kiwis play with some charging runs that helped swing the match in New Zealand’s favour.
The 25-year-old’s passion was clear when he reacted angrily after being held down in a crusher tackle late in the first half, climbing to his feet and pointing at Kangaroos forward Sam Thaiday before making a throat-slitting gesture.
Speaking at the post-match media conference, Mannering downplayed Taupau’s violent challenge while crediting his performance for lifting the Kiwis’ spirits.
“Marty will tell you he probably got a bit carried away there. That’s not us,” Mannering said.
“He is passionate and he was doing a great job for us. He was a bit fired up, but that was understandable in a test match.
“He definitely added some punch off the bench after our two starting props (Ben Matulino and Jesse Bromwich) set a good platform after withering a storm from Aussie.
“To bring someone like that on, he added a lot and we managed to get a bit of momentum and hang onto the footy on the back of his carries and score points. He played a pretty important role for us tonight.”