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Saturday, 9 November, 2002, 21:22 GMT
GB mistakes prove costly
New Zealand's Stacey Jones scores the first try of the night
Stacey Jones scored the first try of the night
Great Britain 16-30 New Zealand

Great Britain were made to pay for poor defending as New Zealand emerged victorious in the first of the three-Test series at Ewood Park.

The home side led 10-6 at half-time after a late try by Leon Pryce.

But in the second half Karl Pratt, in particular, struggled under the high ball allowing the visitors some crucial tries.

We played very well in the first half but there were a few unforced errors in the second half
GB captain Andy Farrell

Winger Henry Fa'filli claimed a second-half hat-trick, becoming the first Kiwi to score three tries against Great Britain in 95 years of Tests.

Nigel Vagana added two tries before Jamie Peacock cut the gap late on.

The home side made the better start with captain Andy Farrell leading by example.

Farrell scored the game's opening points, a penalty, after the tourists were caught offside in the fifth minute.

Great Britain were also given a let-off in the ninth minute when hooker Richard Swain darted over from dummy half but Stuart Fielden and Keiron Cunningham prevented him grounding the ball.

Soon after, Farrell landed another penalty but it was not long before New Zealand got off the mark when scrum-half Stacey Jones went over for a try which was converted by Richard Swain.

Farrell brought up his ton of points for Great Britain levelling the match at 6-6 when he scored a simple chance from in front of the posts after 22 minutes.

Things got better for Great Britain when Leon Pryce put them back in the lead when he scored a try eight minutes before the break.

Leeds star Kevin Sinfield, looking more than comfortable at stand-off, created the opening before receiving the ball back from Jamie Peacock and sent Pryce sprinting over in the right corner.

Great Britain's Leon Pryce is challenged
Leon Pryce went over just before the break

The second half belonged to the visitors as Robbie Paul set up Vagana on 42 minutes after hesitation by Pratt and Keith Senior.

Pratt was again the culprit five minutes later as Jones tried the same method of attack.

The Lions left winger spilled the ball as he attempted the catch and this time it was Fa'afili who was on hand to touch down and make it 14-10.

Britain lacked nothing in commitment but they lost the hard-working Stuart Fielden after a clash of heads with Jerry Seu Seu and Morley was placed on report after running into the same player moments later.

Tempers were also showing signs of beginning to fray with Morley particularly treading a fine line as Britain tried to battle their way back to parity.

But another error by Pratt let in Fa'afili again and just four minutes later the New Zealander got in again with Swain making his first conversion for a 14 point lead.

With six minutes to go, a Jamie Peacock try, converted by Farrell restored some pride.

But almost on full time, Vagana claimed his second try to complete Great Britain's misery and leave New Zealand celebrating.

Worse was to follow for Great Britain with the news that hooker Keiron Cunningham is a major doubt for next Saturday's second Test with a suspected dislocated elbow.

Great Britain: G Connolly (Wigan); L Pryce (Bradford), M Gleeson (St Helens), K Senior (Leeds), K Pratt (Leeds); K Sinfield (Leeds), P Deacon (Bradford); S Fielden (Bradford), K Cunningham (St Helens), B McDermott (Leeds), A Farrell (Wigan, capt), A Morley (Sydney Roosters), M Forshaw (Bradford). Subs (from): P Anderson (Bradford), J Peacock (Bradford), C Joynt (St Helens), D Orr (Castleford), L Gilmour (Bradford).

New Zealand: R Paul (Bradford); H Fa'afili (NZ Warriors), N Vagana (Canterbury), C Toopi (NZ Warriors), F Meli (NZ Warriors); L Hohaia (NZ Warriors), S Jones (NZ Warriors, capt); J Seu Seu (NZ Warriors), R Swain (Brisbane), P Rauhihi (Canterbury), A Lauiti'iti (NZ Warriors), S Kearney (Melbourne), A Guttenbeil (NZ Warriors). Subs: D Solomona (Parramatta), M Betham (NZ Warriors), T Puletua (Penrith), L Swann (NZ Warriors).

Referee: Steve Clark (Australia).

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