England Open Series With Win

You may have to watch this game again to fully appreciate the huge defensive effort from an impressive England team. Despite the Kiwis scoring two world class tries, England’s defensive structures remained intact for the full eighty and this was the key to this outstanding victory.

The hull crowd was strangely muted  for periods of the game, but there was certainly passion in the English Jersey.

The opening score came from the magnificent Sam Tomkins who took a pass from full back Johnny Lomax to finish at pace close to the posts. England winger Tommy Makinson was instrumental in the score and was strong throughout.

The Kiwis however scored two world class tries from full back and captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and the superb Esan Marsters.

Marsters score came from a majestic inside pass from Shaun Johnson and it was virtually impossible to stop.

The same could be said about the superb score from Watene-Zelezniak who finished with blistering pace after a half break by Kodi Nikorima. These were classical scores but England had the character to keep the Kiwis attacking options limited. This was a tough game with some really hard hits and highly impressive performances from Elliot Whitehead, Luke Thompson and John Bateman. Indeed Thompson confirmed his status as an international class forward, never taking a backward step.

England managed to even the scores by half time when Jake Connor was awarded a penalty try after Watene-Zelezniak’s knees collided with the centre as he was in the act of scoring. The score was awarded and at 12-12 this was a high quality international game.

The second half was as Tough as the first half. Strong hits and excellent defence and Johnson’s penalties saw the Kiwis nudge ahead.

Then came Oliver Gildart. This classy centre has been superb for Wigan this season and after taking an offload from John Bateman he showed pace and style to avoid Watene-Zelezniak in a quality score which broke the Kiwis hearts. It was another world class try in this exhilarating encounter.

This was a superb win for an English team brimming with new international stars. The coaching ethics of Wayne Bennett was clear for all to see and this series now takes on that added interest next week at Anfield.



England: Lomax, McGillvary, Gildart, Connor, Makinson, Williams, Tomkins Hill, Hodgson, Graham, Whitehead, J Bateman , O Loughlin ,Clark,, G Burgess, T Burgess , Thompson,

New Zealand: Watene-Zelezniak, Maumalo, Marsters, Manu, Rapana, Johnson, Nikorima, J Bromwich, Smith, Waerea-Hargreaves, Proctor, Liu, Fisher-Harris, K Bromwich, Ah Mau, Taupau, Blair, Hughes, Tapine.

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