Rugby League: England edge series over World champions Kiwis
Matt Haynes | November 14, 2015
England 20-14 New Zealand
- England beat New Zealand to win series
- Two tries from Elliot Whitehead
- First triumph for coach Steve McNamara
England announced to the world of rugby league that they are back in style, after a thrilling encounter in the third Test match at the DW Stadium, beating New Zealand 2-1 overall.
Eight year wait
Not since 2007, when Great Britain (now just England, Wales and Scotland) recorded a 3-0 series win over New Zealand achieved success, in the years after often losing out to Australia or the Kiwis.
However, it is perhaps the best squad of players that they have had, over the last three matches and there is still Sam Tomkins to come back from injury and more than likely, Sam Burgess who has just completed his switch back to rugby league.
After two intensive matches, it came down to a decider in Wigan and the occasion didn’t disappoint.
As it has been all series, England’s defence was simply sensational, withstanding a wave of Kiwi attacks,a s Steve McNamara’s men held out to the last and dug deep. Taking an 8-0 lead, England raced out of the blocks, a converted Elliot Whitehead try adding to a Gareth Widdop penalty, however just before the interval Jason Nightingale crossed in the corner to make the match even more interesting.
However, Whitehead, who is bound for the NRL, raced through to score again, before Warriors skipper Sean O’Loughlin crashed over in front of a sold out and delighted home crowd. The Kiwis though kept coming. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Jordan Kahu touched down in quick succession to set up a nervy final few minutes, though England stood strong.
England: Z Hardaker (Leeds); J McGillvary (Huddersfield), K Watkins (Leeds), J Bateman (Wigan), R Hall (Leeds); G Widdop (St George Illawarra), M Smith (Wigan); J Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), J Hodgson (Canberra), C Hill (Warrington), E Whitehead (Catalans Dragons), L Farrell (Wigan), S O’Loughlin (Wigan, capt).
Subs: J Roby (St Helens), T Burgess (South Sydney), M Cooper (St George Illawarra), B Ferres (Huddersfield).
New Zealand: R Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters); J Nightingale (St George Illawarra), J Kahu (Brisbane), D Whare (Penrith), S Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters); P Hiku (Manly), K Nikorima (Brisbane); J Bromwich (Melbourne), I Luke (South Sydney, capt), S Moa (Sydney Roosters), K Proctor (Melbourne), T Harris (Melbourne), A Blair (Brisbane).
Subs: M Taupau (Wests Tigers), B Matulino (NZ Warriors), A Glenn (Brisbane), L Brown (Penrith), I Liu (Sydney Roosters)
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