The series win already under their belt, England travelled to Elland Road looking for the whitewash against a New Zealand side who were determined to at least get something out of the three tests.
England were forced into three changes with Sam Tomkins, Daryl Clark, and George Burgess unavailable for selection. Richie Myler, Joe Greenwood and Stefan Ratchford took their places. Last weekends hat-trick hero, and recently named Golden Boot winner, Tommy Makinson would be looking to further add to his tally as the large crowd were looking to celebrate the series win.
The fear was that England would take their eye off the ball, but it would be a massive confidence boost if they were to make it a first ever series whitewash over New Zealand.
After a terrific start New Zealand took the lead on four minutes when Ken Maumalo took a two touch pass to fend off Richie Myler and push his way over past two England tacklers. Shaun Johnson added the conversion to establish an early 6-0 lead for the tourists.
On sixteen minutes Tommy Makinson had a spectacular score ruled out for an obstruction in the build up. Eight minutes later Makinson again went close before passing to Lomax who was tackled just short of the line.
On twenty-eight England had a Richie Myler try ruled out after Jermaine McGillvary was adjudged to have knocked on in the build-up and on thirty-two it was New Zealand who extended their lead when Isaac Liu took a fast Kodi Nikorima pass and stepped past two defenders to hit the line and score next to the posts. Johnson added the conversion for a 12-0 lead to silence the big Elland Road crowd.
On the stroke of half time, a Nikorima and Johnson one-two saw them combine for Nikorima to dive over after running through a broken England defence. Johnson made it three from three attempts for an 18-0 lead at th e break.
It took just three minutes of the second half for the Kiwi’s to extend their lead when Maumalo leapt above McGillvary to take a Nikorima cross-field kick to the corner and ground for the fourth try of the game. Johnson hit the far upright with the goal attempt as Jake Connor left the field looking a little groggy.
A late effort from Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, with a flop, saw him yellow carded of fifty-seven. Three plays later Tommy Makinson lost his balance and stepped on the touch-line as he went down the left wing and grounded in the corner.
On sixty-eight McGillvary was sin-binned for a late tackle as England were condemned to play out most of the remainder with twelve men and two plays after the penalty was conceeded, Jesse Bromwich dove over the line after taking a short ball and stepping inside. Johnson converted froim in front of the uprights.
On seventy-two, after an awful Jonny Lomax drop out, substitute Joseph Tapine hit the line and pushed the England tacklers out of the way to ground behind the uprights. Isaiah Papalii kicked the conversion for 34-0 and a comprehensive New Zealand win.
This was a professional New Zealand performance who punished Englands every mistake while growing in stature as their hosts had each of their scoring opportunities quashed by either strong defence or the video referee. It will be little consolation for the Kiwi’s, having already lost the series, but they can at least take something from the series having avoided the whitewash. England will want to forget about this game and concentrate of the series win as the players take their annual holidays before returning for pre-season training.
England: Lomax, Makinson, Connor, Gildart, McGillvary (SB on 68), Williams, Myler, Burgess T, Hodgson, Graham, Bateman, Whitehead, Thompson. Subs: Milner, Hill, Greenwood, Ratchford.
New Zealand: Watene-Zelezniak (SB on 57), Maumalo (2T), Marsters, Manu, Isaako, Johnson (4G), Nikorima (T), Bromwich J (T), Smith, Waerea-Hargreaves, Proctor, Liu (T), Blair. Subs: Bromwich K, Ah Mau, Papalii (G), Tapine (T).
Referee: Gerard Sutton.