5 Nov 2018

England edge Kiwis in second test thriller

6:52 am on 5 November 2018

England have edged the Kiwis with a thrilling come-from-behind 20-14 victory in the second rugby league test at Anfield.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak Photo: Photosport

The score was level 6-6 at half-time, and the New Zealanders jumped to a 14-6 lead not long later.

However, England hit back with three tries to take the game and the series 2-0 after last week's 18-16 win in Hull.

England took the lead with a Jake Connor penalty goal in the fifth minute, but the Kiwis hit back quickly through Dallin Watene- Zelezniak.

The fullback sliced through some weak defence and then Shaun Johnson added the extras to put his side 6-2 in front.

England managed a killer blow right before half-time, a floated pass from George Williams putting Tommy Makinson over in the right-hand corner.

The Kiwis grabbed the lead back just four minutes into the second half. Kodi Nikorima put Watene-Zelezniak through a huge hole on halfway and then the fullback found Ken Maumalo out wide for the try.

It went from bad to worse for England when replacement hooker Daryl Clark went off with a rib injury soon after and Johnson nailed a penalty to make it 14-6.

Tensions boiled over in the 53rd minute when James Fisher-Harris took out Tomkins after a kick. Scuffles broke out across the field before England took advantage of the ensuing penalty.

A brilliant no-look offload from Connor set up Makinson for his second four- pointer and cut the deficit to just four points.

Bennett's side would not be stopped, Connor brushing past his opposite number to sensationally tie up the game. The centre couldn't convert his own four-pointer, so it remained locked at 14-14 with 16 minutes left.

The Kiwis were fading and then lost Jordan Rapana with a wrist injury. It was left to Makinson to capitalise on the left flank with a great match-winning try.

"We just weren't good enough tonight, and we know we can play better than that," Watene-Zelezniak told Sky Sport afterwards.

"Credit to England - they're tough to beat over here, and they showed again tonight they're a quality side even without their big fellas playing."

The third Test is in Leeds next weekend.