New Zealand’s superstar halfback Shaun Johnson says the Kiwis blew their chance of hosting a home semi-final after their shock loss to Tonga on Saturday.
Tonga finished top of their group sending New Zealand to the other side of the quarter-finals where they will now play Fiji.
A victory there will see them clash with Australia in the semi-finals in Brisbane.
“Having a handy lead at halftime and coming out and letting that slip away, we probably blew it,” Johnson said.
“But then you look at the way Tonga played and the energy they played with and you’ve got to give them credit.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a few times there with us being a bit too flustered at times and looking to overplay and not just getting into the work that we’d spoken about all week, so it’s very frustrating.”
The Kiwis led Tonga 16-2 in Hamilton but let the game slip handing Tonga their biggest ever rugby league victory.