Kiwi Rugby League Team prep will take place at Turangawaewae Marae, Ngaruawahia

The Kiwis will be going back to basics before the Rugby League World Cup, with an extended stay at a marae part of their buildup to the tournament.

The New Zealand side, which will include some of the NRL's biggest stars, will be sleeping on wooden floors and preparing their own communal meals during a three-day stay at Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia.

It will be significantly different to the usual environment for million dollar players such as Shaun Johnson and Jason Taumalolo, who are normally accommodated in five star hotels with fine dining and room service.

The move is an attempt to take the Kiwis back to their roots and build the right kind of culture before arguably the most important tournament in New Zealand league history.

The entire Kiwis contingent will be sleeping on mattresses on the floor and helping out in the kitchen at the marae, which has long been seen as the historical headquarters of the Maori King.

"It's all about the culture and trying to get the players in touch with that," said Kiwis campaign manager Shane Richardson. "It's also about understanding how lucky we are to be doing what we are doing and building as a team. We have an opportunity to make a great legacy at the World Cup and it's about buying into that before we start the camp ... and define what our true values are."

It's a brave move - which will surely take some of the New Zealand players out of their comfort zone. It's driven by the desire of the Kiwis' hierarchy to shake things up, realising they have to do some things differently after the disappointing results of the past 12 months.

It's also an attempt to rebuild the Kiwis culture after the disastrous Anzac test earlier this year, which culminated in Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor being banned from the World Cup after they allegedly purchased cocaine outside a Canberra nightclub after a drinking session following the heavy loss. Whatever unfolded that night - and there are a number of different versions and theories - it was clearly an indication that all was not well in the camp.

Richardson also confirmed the Kiwis would have a strict policy around alcohol during the World Cup. Consumption would be carefully monitored.

"Part of the policy is that we are not drinking after the games," said Richardson. "From our point of view, alcohol is not a part of what the Kiwis are trying to do for the World Cup - it's as simple as that. For a period of five weeks we have a chance to create something great and I'm not sure that alcohol plays a role in that. It will be controlled, there will be no going out and raging and the leadership group are very aware of that, too. Everyone is still adults and we won't be carrying a big stick but alcohol is not a part of us winning a World Cup."

Richardson has also been involved in redrafting the code of conduct, although he says that wasn't just a reaction to the events in Canberra.

"On the Friday morning before that game I had sent a report to Alex [Hayton] about my thoughts on the camp," said Richardson. "It listed some of the dysfunctional things that we needed to fix before the World Cup and some of the things that we needed to review and change. Things have changed but it wasn't just because of that night."

Richardson, who has been CEO of the Panthers and Rabbitohs during three decades of administration in the sport, is confident the Kiwis have a realistic chance of repeating their famous Cup success of 2008.

"We need to do the little things right, having the best people, doing these to the best of their abilities," he said. "It's about being really good in every little thing we do, on and off the field. I've had 30 years experience in the NRL and I've put in place what I know as best practice."


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