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Hulls' KC Stadium was the venue for the first of the three Autumn tests between a new-look England side and the World Cup holders, the best team in the world, New Zealand.

England were without Sam Tomkins, ruled out through injury for the whole series, paving the way for Super League Man of Steel and triple winner Zak Hardaker to take a starring role for his country.

A full house and a terrific atmosphere welcomed the two sides onto the pitch and a blood curdling Haka signalled the start of hostilities.

The opening six minutes had been edged by England but a neat passing moved from the Kiwis in the England twenty allowed Tohu Harris to go over on the angle. Isaac Luke slid the ball wide of the far upright.

On sixteen Sam Moa added a second for New Zealand when he fought the post padding to ground the ball one-handed off a Roger Tuivasa-Sheck pass. Luke was successful with the boot from bang in front of the posts for a 10-0 lead.

Two minutes had pass before a stroke of luck got England back into the game. A Whitehead offload hit Zak Hardaker's knee and then went off the hands of Hiku and into the hands of Josh Hodgson who had the line gaping. Gareth Widdop kicked the two to reduce the margin to four.

When Shaun O'Loughlin illegally stole the ball on the last tackle, five from his own line, Luke Isaac took the opportunity to push the margin out to six to the tourists with a simple penalty goal.

Within seconds of New Zealand having a try ruled out for obstruction, England worked the ball downfield and Brett Ferres walked between two tacklers to stepped past the last tackle and score by the sticks. Widdop kicked the extras and got his side back to level leading into the interval.

England edged ahead on forty-five when Widdop kicked a goal from twenty metres after New Zealand had interfered at the play-the-ball.

On fifty-eight a scruffy Brett Ferres try, spinning over under the sticks from first receiver, made the Widdop conversion a formality and stretched England's lead to eight points at 20-12.

England took the game to New Zealand for the remainder of the game and the visitors struggled to get inside the England half with the ball in hand. Three minutes from the end and Shaun O'Loughlin muscled his way over the line off a James Roby pass, swatting aside three tacklers, to score the winner. Widdop added the goal for 26-10 and England had a one game series lead.

After a nervous opening twenty minutes it was England who dominated and once they hit the front the game never looked in any doubt. It was a classy performance and a well deserved win which means that they will travel to the Olympic Stadium in London next weekend seeking the win which will seal the series.

England: Hardaker, Burgess J., Bateman, Watkins, Hall, Widdop (5G), Williams, Graham, Hodgson (T), Hill, Whitehead, Farrell, O'Loughlin (T). Subs: Roby, Burgess T., Cooper, Ferres (2T).

New Zealand: Tuivasa-Sheck, Nightingale, Kahu, Whare, Kenny-Dowall, Hiku, Lolohea, Bromwich, Luke (2G), Moa (T), Proctor, Harris (T), Blair. Subs: Nikorima, Taupau, Matulino, Taukeiaho.

Referee: Ben Thaler

Venue: KC Stadium, Hull

Attendance: 23,526




Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 1st Nov 2015 6:53 PM | Views : 61954 | Replies : 31 | BACK TO STORIES
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