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Johnson steps up for Kiwis at RLWC

Shaun Johnson is living the dream as well as living up to his potential at the Rugby League World Cup.
Johnson steps up for Kiwis at RLWC
by AAP

AVIGNON, Nov 2 AAP - Shaun Johnson is living the dream as well as living up to his potential at the Rugby League World Cup.

The 23-year-old halfback has loomed large on the league radar since being touted as the next big thing back in 2009 by Australian legend Andrew Johns.

On Saturday in Avignon, the 2012 international rookie of the year took another step up, scoring half New Zealand's points as they saw off the French 48-0.

"It's just real buzzy, playing a game of footy on the other side of the world," Johnson said.

"It's still kind of surreal."

The Kiwis dominated their second pool B match, running in three first-half tries for an 18-0 lead at the break before adding another five in the second spell.

"I thought the forwards were outstanding, they really laid that platform and I guess us little men could jump off the back of it and that's what we did," he said.

Despite playing on the NRL big stage for the Warriors since 2011, including a starring role in a losing grand final, Johnson says wearing the black jersey at a World Cup tops it all.

"It's just a dream come true to be here."

Although he finished off both his tries in style against France, it was Johnson's kicking and general composure that would have most pleased coach Stephen Kearney.

His tactical kicking was right on the button and his fulltime conversion from the sideline left him with a perfect eight from eight goals.

"I guess that's just my role in the side," Johnson said.

"I'm the goalkicker and my responsibility is to knock them over, so I'm pleased I could do that."

Johnson said the most satisfying aspect of the win was the Kiwis' improvement from last week's patchy opening victory over Samoa 42-24.

His halves combination with Manly star Kieran Foran is also developing nicely, with both players posing threats to the opposition down either flank.

The defending champions have a well-earned couple of days off, before relocating back to Leeds early next week to prepare for Friday's third pool match against Papua New Guinea.

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