9 Nov 2008

England coach angry, Matai not in good shape

9:19 am on 9 November 2008

England's rugby league coach Tony Smith is furious after his side fell apart against New Zealand in Newcastle, saying some players will face the axe if they survive to face the Kiwis next week.

England lost by 12 points, 36 to 24, after leading by the same margin at half time.

Despite being up 24-14 at the break, the New Zealanders rallied with skipper Benji Marshall and fullback Lance Hohaia running riot.

Winger Manu Vatuvei scored four tries - the first time in World Cup history - with his three in the second half all set up by the Kiwis' pair of playmakers.

Meanwhile the New Zealand doctor Simon Mayhew says the injury to centre Steve Matai is nothing like his ongoing issues and could be as serious as a fractured neck.