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Page last updated at 08:19 GMT, Saturday, 8 November 2008

England v NZ as it happened


England 24-36 New Zealand Match report

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By Paul Fletcher

1115: Well, thanks for your company. I only wish I'd been able to bring you better news. We can have lots more fun all over again next week when England try to put things right - we've heard that before haven't we?

And don't forget we'll be on the ball with Australia v PNG on Sunday and Ireland against Fiji on Monday. Bring. It. on.

1112: Just a few thoughts - the kicking game has still not been sorted, the defence still looks very shaky, the second-half performances over the last couple of weeks has been poor and momentum has been handed to New Zealand ahead of next week.

On the plus side - England showed more grunt today, matched the Kiwis in the forward and, for the opening 40 minutes at least, looked good going forward. And don't forget a couple of Kiwi tries came when Paul Sykes was playing on the wing - and that won't happen next week.

1105: "Lack of a second-half performance has taken away from the good done in the first half. England invited the Kiwis back into the game. New Zealand played some nice rugby, but England made poor tactical decisions."
Hull KR coach Justin Morgan on BBC Radio Five Live

1101: "Re my comment of 0843, it looks like I'll be working next Saturday."
Matt via text on 81111

1100: Unless something extraordinary happens when PNG play Australia, then England will play the Kiwis again next weekend for a place in the final. I know who I think has the psychological upper hand - and it isn't England. I cannot stress enough how much the defensive frailties worry me while the creativity so evident in the opening dried up after the break.

1100: "So..... things we have learnt today:

"1. Sykes is not good enough

"2. England do not have any squad depth - the minute the starting 13 were disrupted it went down hill, and the real killer was losing Wellens - it was chaos

"3. Tony Archer is not a good referee

"4. Someone needs to teach England that games last 80 mins not 40 mins. Winning one half does not win the game."."
HailThePocketRocket on 606
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Full-time England 24-36 New Zealand
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. A strong position at half-time becomes a demoralising defeat. For the second week in a row England fail to score in the second-half. The defence out wide was a shambles.

78 mins: TRY England 24-36 New Zealand
It has all gone very badly wrong. There is a suspicion of a forward pass but nonetheless Manu Vatuvei touches down in the corner for his fourth try. Benji Marshall misses the conversion.

76 mins: England's short kick-off fails to go the required 10 metres. The second-half has been a shambles.

75 mins: TRY & CONVERSION England 24-32 New Zealand
Bronson Harrison collects a sensational disguised pass from Benji Marshall and runs towards the line. He flicks the ball backwards and an England hand touches the ball but cannot hold it. Nathan Fien is alert to the situation and scoops up the ball before crashing over. The video referee awards a try. Jeremy Smith sends over the conversion.

73 mins: England break but are brought back for a forward pass. Time is running out here.

73 mins: Nathan Fien is back on the field despite sustaining a broken nose.

71 mins: England have not scored a point since the 28th minute. Very worrying.

69 mins: PENALTY England 24-26 New Zealand
Isaac Luke is closing down on a high kick but is brought down off the ball by Kevin Sinfield. Replays show contact was minimal but the penalty is awarded Luke kicks the penalty and the Kiwis take the lead for the first time in the match.

66 mins: Paul Wellens and Mickey Higham are back on - Paul Sykes has been withdrawn.

This game has become something of an arm wrestle. The next score will be crucial.

64 mins: A Kiwi loses the ball in the tackle. Relief for England. England win a penalty for offside following a run from Rob Burrow. Time to see some attacking force from England. We have not seen anything in this half.

62 mins: Paul Sykes, not having the best of games, knocks-on to gift the Kiwis good field position. Sykes has played in three positions during the course of this game, starting with his move from centre to wing as part of the reshuffle that followed after full-back Paul Wellens left the field.

61 mins: A terrible end to England's set as Kevin Sinfield does not get the chance to kick on the last. Paul Sykes has been moved to full-back. He had a torrid time against Manu Vatuvei.

59 mins: England desperately need some field position. Lance Hohaia makes a massive mess of a deep kick from Kevin Sinfield - and England have it.

"New Zealand are trying to take the energy out of the England team with back-to-back sets and it is so difficult to defend people like Hohaia and Fien. The momentum has swung back New Zealand's way. They are extremely confident now and England have got a battle on their hands and they will have to fight tooth and nail to win this."
Hull KR coach Justin Morgan on BBC Radio Five Live

55 mins: TRY 7 CONVERSION England 24-24 New Zealand
Another drop-out and a scrum to the Kiwis follow. They work the ball quickly out to Manu Vatuvei, who is in acres of space on the right touchline and he crosses for his hat-trick. Where was Paul Sykes? Isaac Luke adds the conversion. Scores level, though New Zealand have scored more tries.

51 mins: A massive hole in the England defence and Greg Eastwood charges through after an Adam Blair pass. Thankfully for England he does not have the pace and he is eventually brought down. Nonetheless, they NZ force another goal-line drop-out.

49 mins: New Zealand are looking dangerous - though much to England's relief Benji Marshall loses the ball in the tackle. Mark Calderwood then loses the ball as he is tackled. Poor.

47 mins: TRY England 24-18 New Zealand
New Zealand force a goal-line drop-out. It could have been a lot worse as England made hard work of belting the ball out of play, with Lee Smith almost missing it with Greg Eastwood closing in. However, the Kiwis work the ball out to the left in the following set and that man Manu Vatuvei touches down in the corner. He is a winger who really does take some stopping. Isaac Luke misses the conversion.

44 mins: New Zealand fluff their lines, Lance Hohaia knocking-on with the try line in sight. England reach the half-way line before a poor kick from Kevin Sinfield, straight down the throat of Jason Nightingale.

43 mins: A quick word on Steve Matai - apparently he has a trapped nerve. Hopefully he will be OK.

42 mins: Smart kick from Kevin Sinfield at the end of the first set of the half, turning the Kiwi defence. We need to see more of that.

41 mins: Benji Marshall gets the second half started.

"Fantastic first half from England! I must say one thing, England need to raise there performance by another 50% to stand a chance against Australia. You got to agree though, Australia are just in another world of class."
HullCityFan08 on 606
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Agreed. But we have to build for that game - repair confidence, improve defence, work on our cohesion, develop a kicking game etc etc.

1005: There can be no doubt that several 'fringe' England players have put their hand upso far. I'm thinking here about Mickey Higham and Rob Purdham. Agree?

"As a non-regular in the world of RL - is this normal? I mean, the Kiwis aren't being beaten, they are being destroyed. They don't seem to have anything like the heart or imagination that England do, and that isn't what I am used to from NZ in any sport. Not that I am complaining!"
cheerysouthernred on 606
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I understand what you're saying and all that but this game is far from over. There are only 10 points between the two teams. Having said that, we have so far witnessed more hunger and desire from the England lads than we have seen so far in the competition.

"That was a very good first-half performance from England. They have made the most of their field possession and their line speed has been first class. If they could get their kicking game more in order and stop giving away penalties in the ruck area, that would have been a nine out of 10 performance for the first half."
Hull KR coach Justin Morgan on BBC Radio Five Live

Half-time: England 24-14 New Zealand
Good things. Bad things. England looked good going forward, plenty of grunt and no little creativity. However, they still look ropey in defence, especially when the Kiwis are close to their line.

39 mins: England have a scrum close to the Kiwi line and opt to kick on the first tackle. It is too deep and something of a waste.

37 mins: Paul Wellens picked up an injury when he almost scored a try several minutes ago and the full-back has left the field.

36 mins: TRY & CONVERSION England 24-14 New Zealand
England concede a penalty and pay heavily. Brilliant hands from the Kiwis and Jason Nightingale touches down in the corner. Isaac Luke brilliantly converts from a tight angle.

35 mins: Almost another try for England following a break from Mark Calderwood after a great flat pass from Mickey Higham puts him away. Calderwood slips the ball inside to Paul Wellens, who is bundled into touch at the second attempt inches from the line.

32 mins: Benji Marshall tries an impossible off-load and the impressive Adrian Morley scoops up the ball.

31 mins: Benji Marshall puts a low kick through on the last and England full-back Paul Wellens takes no chances. A goal-line drop-out follows.

30 mins: New Zealand into England's half. Can Tony Smith's team hold out?

29 mins: The break in play must have been 10 minutes. Steve Matai receives a generous round of applause as he is stretchered off.

29 mins: The Matai situation looks serious. He was injured against the Aussies in the group game and he is slowly, very slowly, put on a stretcher with his neck in a brace in Newcastle.

"I think what will most please coach Tony Smith so far is that each and every time England have good field possession they have come up with points. Last week against Australia they built pressure but didn't come up with points."
Hull KR coach Justin Morgan on BBC Radio Five Live

29 mins: East meets West. Greg Eastwood puts a massive hit on Ben Westwood. The England player bounces up and carries on. Steve Matai was also in the tackle and the centre has injured his shoulder.

27 mins: TRY & CONVERSION England 24-8 New Zealand
Another penalty for England and Tony Smith's team are on the attack. Everyone expects Rob Burrow to kick on the last close to the Kiwi line but a neat step and a sharp five-metre burst is followed by a dive over the line. Brilliant invention. Rob Purdham converts again.

"Some people thought this game would be a dead rubber but both of these teams are playing with a great deal of vigour and speed. Both teams are determined to get a win on the board before next week."
Hull KR coach Justin Morgan on BBC Radio Five Live

23 mins: The Kiwis are pinged for offside. England drive forward.

21 mins: TRY England 18-8 New Zealand
The Kiwis attack again - and score again. Lance Hohaia appears to be held up by Gareth Ellis and Paul Wellens but he rolls over the two defenders and gets the ball down at the second attempt. The video ref awards the try. Steve Matai misses the conversion. Once again England look poor in defence, especially out wide.

"Come on boys! If we are to have any chance of beating AUSTRALIA we need to wipe New Zealand off the pitch!"
live for the weekends on 606
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16 mins TRY & CONVERSION England 18-4 New Zealand
Martin Gleeson shows a beautiful step to break through the Kiwi defensive line. He is tackled just short of the try line but momentum takes him over. The try is awarded by the video referee. Rob Purdham converts.

14 mins: TRY England 12-4 New Zealand
The Kiwis kick high at the end of their set and Lee Smith catches the ball. A 20 metre restart follows but England are penalised for a forward tackle. The Kiwis break through Jerome Ropati and the following tackle Manu Vatuvei slams into several players and crashes them out of the way as he crosses for a try. Steve Matai misses the conversion.

10 mins: Disappointing low kick from Rob Burrow is followed by a penalty for a high tackle by Adrian Morley. The Kiwis have some decent field position for the first time.

6 mins: TRY & CONVERSION England 12-0 New Zealand
England seem to have a lot more aggression to their game today. Paul Wellens keeps the ball in the field of play after a deep kick. Keith Senior breaks a couple of tackles and slips the ball inside to Rob Burrow. The scampering Leeds Rhinos does the rest, running 40 yards before sliding over.

4 mins: TRY & CONVERSION England 6-0 New Zealand
A surging run from Rob Purdham takes England close to the line.Mickey Higham picks up the ball and drives low over the line. Great start for England. Purdham converts.

3 mins: England have their first drive. Quick play-the-ball - good to see - and the Kiwis are penalised for off-side.

1 mins: Mickey Higham is penalised for a penalty. I'm sure that David Fa'alogo was holding on to the hooker's arm, not allowing him to release from the tackle.

1 mins: Rob Purdham kicks off and we are under way.

0900: New Zealand do their Haka. England go into a huddle, with Jamie Peacock and Adrian Morley effectively turning their back on it. Controversial.

0859: Martin Gleeson - nice shiner.

0857: An 0855 kick-off? Don't think so - will any game in this comp start on time? Ray Bishop knocks out the Kiwi anthem.

0855: Is it me or does skipper Jamie Peacock have the eye of the tiger about him as he leads the team out?

0854: The teams are on their way out. England were engaging in some most bizarre man-on-man barging routine prior to leaving the dressing room.

0851: Check that - the sunset over the stadium in Newcastle looks truly stunning. I'm hoping that such delicate beauty will provide a stark contrast with the physical brutality of the collisions we are about to witness.

0849: One Kiwi player I have been impressed with at the World Cup is Simon Mannering. Now only has he got a name that takes me back to Dad's Army but he seems to be a pretty powerfully runner with ball in hand.

0846: "Pretty uninspiring selection. We will be hammered by the Kiwis. We should come home now and stop this embarrassing episode. We all know it will be a New Zealand v Australia final anyway!"
Chris, London, via text on 81111

Whoa there. We don't need these negative waves before kick-off. Maybe afterwards...

0843: "I'm in work missing the game. Can the boys provide a suitably inspiring effort to convince me to shun the lure of overtime for next week's semi-final?"
Matt via text on 81111

I'm not sure that anyone can answer that question - though we'll have a much better idea a couple of hours from now.

0840: England are going through their warm-up routine. With Kevin Sinfield on the bench who will take charge of the kicking game today? Perhaps Rob Purdham and Rob Burrow?

0835: I'm going to engage in a little shameless self-promotion here. I wrote a blog about this game - and the improvements I want to see from England. Feel free to have a read.
Blog - Time to show some fight

0832: "I hope I'm proved wrong, but is Martin Gleeson the worst England stand-off of all time?"
Anonymous via text on 81111


0830: Lots of changes for England then. No Danny McGuire or Leon Pryce so Martin Gleeson plays at stand-off, while Paul Sykes is alongside Keith Senior in the centres.

Kevin Sinfield starts from the bench with Rob Purdham getting a start at loose forward. I have seen a lot of Purdham at Harlequins and I think he might just surprise a few people.

I'm also pleased to see that Mickey Higham and Jamie Jones-Buchanan have been given a chance to show what they are all about.

0826: TEAMS
England: Wellens, Calderwood, Sykes, Senior, Smith, Gleeson, Burrow, Morley, Higham, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ellis, Purdham.

Replacements: Sinfield, Westwood, Hock, Langley.

New Zealand: Hohaia, Nightingale, Matai, Ropati, Vatuvei, Marshall, Leuluai, Blair, Fien, Tuimavave, Mannering, Fa'alogo, Smith.

Replacements: Luke, Eastwood, Kidwell, Harrison.

0825 GMT: Now then. Here we go again. England's third game of the World Cup as they take on New Zealand in their final group game. What will we get today?

It has been, at best, pretty ordinary so far from Tony Smith's brave boys. They will need to stand up and be counted this evening against a strong and physical Kiwi team.

You could say this game is a dead rubber. But England need to rebuild their shattered confidence after the humiliation of last Sunday against Australia.

It is of crucial importance. Isn't it?

see also
World Cup pictures
08 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
England 24-36 New Zealand
08 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Graham and Roby rested by England
05 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Prop Fa'asavalu out of World Cup
06 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Smith left humbled by record loss
02 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Australia 52-4 England
02 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup squads
14 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup 2008 fixtures
08 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup Quiz
17 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
World Cup 2008 - players to watch
14 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup history
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup on the BBC
06 Oct 08 |  Rugby League

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