England vs New Zealand - Game 2 Preview

Anfield the second test and the man with the Scouse accent James Graham as England captain, what more could you want.

Graham has joined the ranks of rugby league greats after he has repeatedly performed for his national team. Today all the pressure is on a New Zealand team full of potential super stars , but now facing the prospect of a series defeat.

Surprisingly enough the Kiwis have managed only four wins and a draw from 14 test matches since 2016, and this is a woeful record that coach Michael Maguire will be looking to improve.

Last week witnessed three world class scores amongst the try’s and two of those came from the Kiwis, so nobody in the England team will be underestimating them.

Centres Joseph Manu and Esan Marsters could easily be a world class combination but last week Oliver Gildart stole the show.

Gildart is an old style classy centre with a beautiful passing game and great pace and he will be a threat to the huge New Zealand back line.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak looked dangerous all day in the first test and hooker Brandon Smith needs to be watched close to the line.

This is a good New Zealand team but England have produced quality international players in Tommy Makinson, George Williams, Johnny Lomax, and Luke Thompson and these boys perhaps don’t have the high profile of the Burgess boys or Elliot Whitehead right now, but they are certainly on the radar now .

Makinson is real quality, you can see that every time he touches the ball and the fact that he is in this side ahead of the superb Tom Johnstone says a great deal about him.

The first test was tough and the English defence was mostly superb. The speed of defenders returning to the defensive line was outstanding and this is where the English team out performed their opponents.

For New Zealand the world class Jared Warea-Hargreaves will be looking to dominate and the English forward pack will again have a huge battle on their hands.

As coach Wayne Bennett says “ nobody had a bad game last week” and that needs to be the same again at Anfield today kick of 2.30pm.

Expect this game to be the real deal. It could go either way, and Adam Milner could well be the key to victory. He is a clever and intelligent player and with him as part of that England Spine I expect the home team to take the series by 2-6 points.

England 19-man squad: John Bateman, George Burgess, Tom Burgess, Daryl Clark, Jake Connor, Oliver Gildart, James Graham, Chris Hill, Josh Hodgson, Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Jermaine McGillvary, Richie Myler, Adam Milner, Mark Percival, Luke Thompson, Sam Tomkins, Elliott Whitehead, George Williams.

New Zealand 19-man squad: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (c), Leeson Ah Mau, Adam Blair, Jesse Bromwich, James Fisher-Harris, Jahrome Hughes, Shaun Johnson, Isaac Liu, Joseph Manu, Esan Marsters, Ken Maumalo, Kodi Nikorima, Kevin Proctor, Jordan Rapana, Brandon Smith, Joseph Tapine, Martin Taupau, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves


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