2018 International Rugby League – England vs New Zealand Preview

AT A GLANCE

When? Sunday 11th November, 15:15

Where? Elland Road

What channel is it on? BBC Two

Where can I stream the match? BBC Sport website and app

Are tickets still available? https://rugbyleague.tickethour.co.uk/priceSeatingPlan.html?idProduct=311

THE LOWDOWN

ENGLAND

Head Coach: Wayne Bennett

Squad (from): Bateman, T. Burgess, Connor, Gildart, Graham, Greenwood, Hill, Hodgson, Johnstone, Lomax, Lyne, Makinson, McGillvary, Milner, Myler, Percival, Ratchford, Thompson, Whitehead, Williams

Unavailable: Sean O’Loughlin, George Burgess, Sam Tomkins, Daryl Clark

  • England will be looking to wrap up a clean-sweep of victories in this series at a near-capacity Elland Road after grinding out two wins in close contests against the Kiwis so far.

  • Last week’s come-from-behind victory at Anfield ensured England secured the Baskerville Shield, overturning an eight-point deficit in the second half with Tommy Makinson’s hat-trick the highlight. That helped Makinson claim the Golden Boot award this week.

  • The side will see several changes from last week’s Test with Daryl Clark and Sam Tomkins joining Sean O’Loughlin on the treatment table whilst George Burgess starts the first of a four-match ban. Joe Greenwood will make his debut with Richie Myler and Stefan Ratchford also set to play.

NEW ZEALAND

Head Coach: Michael Maguire

Squad (from): Ah Mau, Beale, Blair, J. Bromwich, K. Bromwich, Fisher-Harris, Hawawira-Naera, Hughes, Isaako, Johnson, Liu, Manu, Marsters, Maumalo, Nikorima, Papali'i, Proctor, Smith, Tapine, Taupau, Waerea-Hargreaves, Watene-Zelezniak

Unavailable: Jordan Rapana

  • New Zealand will be keen to avoid an unexpected whitewash here as they prepare for the final Test in this three-match series. They have lost the two games so far by a combined eight points, highlighting how close the matches have been.

  • The Kiwis have played some eye-catching stuff during the series but haven’t done this consistently, failing to kick on after scoring tries in both of the games so far. With the series lost and just pride on the line, the shackles may be loosened for them to play with more freedom in this final game.

  • Head coach Michael Maguire may opt to make some changes to his side to give more of the touring party a taste of the action but there will definitely be a new name on the wing after Jordan Rapana suffered a shoulder injury last week.

THE PREDICTION

England claimed the Baskerville Shield with last week’s impressive second half showing against New Zealand to take an unassailable 2-0 lead into the final Test at Elland Road on Sunday. Tommy Makinson’s late try to complete his hat-trick sealed the win after yet another physical contest. Both games have been tight with very fine margins splitting the two teams and that could again be the case in this final game. The Kiwis will be fired up as they aim to avoid a whitewash with it remaining to be seen whether Michael Maguire will rotate his side or stick with what he deems as his strongest available 17. England will have a few changes in their ranks this week and that disruption could be enough to allow New Zealand to return home with a win under their belt.