England vs New Zealand Preview


New Zealand play in their first international fixture since their shock exit from the World Cup against Fiji, a result that shocked the Kiwi community and called for a mass overhaul of coaches and even a call for some players to be stood down. 

Michael Maguire's debut as New Zealand coach comes in strange circumstances and with a weakened side after fierce opposition from the NRL has forced New Zealand to pick a few new faces to feature, most of which were playing for other Pacific Island nations during the World Cup, the likes of; Ken Maumalo, Herman Ese'Ese, Leeson Ah Mau and Raymond Faitala-Mariner all Samoan internationals that have been called in to be offered debuts for the Kiwi's.
There have been a few criticisms of Wayne Bennet's choices for the England squad, the big call out is there's too many backs. Bennett naming both Tommy Makinson and Jake Connor in the final 17 on the bench, leaving England with just 2 rotation forwards on the bench and with the issues around altitude and exhaustion it could be England's fatal flaw.

Key match ups

Sam Burgess vs Martin Taupau 

Two big men that are often regarded as enforces, when their team starts to slow down or look out on there feet, watch these two begin to try and lift the intensity of the game with either a big run or an even bigger hit.

Esan Marsters vs Mark Percival

Two attacking minded backs who have got tries in them, they love to back themselves on the inside with some good footwork, it will be interesting to see how this battle pan's out.

Gareth Widdop vs Kodi Nikorima

It's going to be these guys job to control the pace of the game, slowing things down to allow their teammates to get a breather but also to turn the screw and really force their opposite numbers to squirm, this will all come down to who steers the game better.


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