Rugby league: Kiwis head to Dubai before taking on England

The Kiwis have plenty of reasons to feel positive after Saturday night's effort against their trans-Tasman rivals, but according to coach Michael Maguire, how they back up that 26-24 win will provide the truest test of their mettle.

"It's about going into camp now and we want to achieve again," said Maguire.

"Playing one game like that is great, but you’ve got to do it over and over, before we start taking about what this team's made of.

"That's going to tell the story about how we are, and how we go away and perform."

On Monday night, the side departs for their two-test series against England and what better way to prepare for the chilly climes of northern England than a two-week stopover in the desert of Dubai.

After the limited training time available before both the Denver and Auckland tests, Maguire's looking forward to the opportunity to work with his troops in a more structured environment.

"We're just going to do a bit of training and give the boys a bit of an experience, to look at another part of the world.

"I think there's enormous improvement in the team that we've got. I think it was the first time Shaun [Johnson] defended out next to Joey [Manu]. You have those sorts of things in the defensive line that the more and more you train, the better you become.

“That's what we'll achieve over these next couple of weeks. We might have a camel ride or something."

Maguire says he's still trying to establish his best combinations and that nothing selection-wise is set in stone.

"I look at how players go about their training and what they do away from the field is a big part of how I look at what I want on the field as well.

"The boys are creating and building what we're about, and they know what's expected. If we keep doing that, we can continue to become a very strong team.”

The Australian has been doing plenty of off-field learning himself, making a concerted effort to learn more about New Zealand culture, in particular, the haka.

"I actually got the team to go through it. We brought someone in and went through what it means.

"It's obviously a very special part of what goes on over here and every time it happens, you feel the tingling

"And when you see the players - the emotion - like Dallin [Watene-Zelezniak] in the front there.

"Just sitting there watching him in the coach's box, you could see him moving away from the team, but he knew he had the support of the team behind him.

"It's very powerful and obviously it’s a big part of what this team is about."

It's helping Maguire better understand his players and their motivations.

"I've coached a lot of Kiwi kids over the years. They'd come in and out of their own teams.

“There was always something about the passion and the way they spoke about the country. This team's no different.

"They sit down and talk about their families, and family's a big part of what makes up the Kiwi people. It’s a great quality of what they have in the community over here."