12 hours ago
Wiki's magic potion
The bond shared by the Kiwis will get them through their third rugby league test in as many countries in the space of a fortnight, says skipper Ruben Wiki.
The veteran prop will break the world record for test appearances when the Kiwis run out on Queens Park Rangers' Loftus Road ground against Great Britain on Sunday morning.
But he insists his personal milestone was secondary to avenging the two defeats by Great Britain that dumped the Kiwis out of last year's inaugural Tri-Nations Series.
"It is just an honour to play for my country," Wiki said.
"To do it for the 47th time is a great milestone. With all the suspensions I've had I've still managed to get up there. But I'm not really worried about the number. I just want to play well for my county and my teammates.
"I'm enjoying it and I've had great support from my family and friends. My wife and kids are a big part of why I play this game and why I love to do it. That's why I'm still going."
Coming just five days after their arrival in England, Sunday's match would be the toughest of the campaign but, despite their gruelling schedule, Wiki insisted the Kiwis would be in good shape to take on the well-rested British.
"We are not too bad. We have got something special here. The boys have been real tight-knit.
"We are real close and that is what we need to get us through some tough times. The last two weeks we have been playing some pretty good football.
"Last week we came up short but we were pretty happy with our performance. We still have a lot of improvement in us, that is the scary thing.
"We are looking forward to playing Great Britain."
After a powerful display against the Kangaroos last week in Auckland, Wiki's 11-year test career shows no sign of abating.
The durable former Canberra Raider attributes his longevity to a Grand Final victory celebration with Fijian winger Noa Nadruku in 1994, when he was first introduced to the mildly narcotic Pacific Island drink kava.
"I've had a couple of broken arms, but three years ago I got on the kava seriously and I've been on it ever since," he said.
"It's my magic potion. I just drink it after the games to take some soreness away and relax my muscles a bit.
"I'm pretty into the ceremonial parts of the kava too. I don't drink (alcohol) so it's a good way to relax after the game."
Travelling through airports with a bag of brown powder in your luggage tends to attract a few obvious difficulties but Wiki had no problem getting his "potion" into Britain.
"I just gave it to the doc and he managed to get my bowl and the kava through customs, so it's all good."
He might be playing as well as ever, but Wiki has not given any thought to whether he'll try to stretch his appearance record into the 50s next season.
"I'm just concentrating on this game this week.
"I don't want to look too far ahead. I'm just looking forward to doing my bit for the team and getting us across the line. We'll see what happens bro. We'll see what happens."