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New Zealand 24-10 England

New Zealand (12) 24
Tries: Sa'u, Hohaia, Kenny-Dowall, Marshall Goals: Marshall (4)
England (0) 10
Tries: Roby, Widdop Goals: Widdop

Four Nations: New Zealand 24-10 England

Highlights - New Zealand 24-10 England (UK users only)

England's brave second-half fightback was in vain as they lost to world champions New Zealand in the opening match of the Four Nations tournament.

Junior Sau and Lance Hohaia scored in a one-sided first half with Shaun Kenny-Dowall adding a third after half-time.

Two tries in two minutes by James Roby and Gareth Widdop raised England hopes.

Kevin Brown was denied a third try for pushing and almost instantly Benji Marshall found the tightest of gaps to score in the right-hand corner.

The result leaves England facing an uphill task to reach the final of the tournament which also includes Papua New Guinea and hot favourites Australia, who meet on Sunday.

James Graham

Graham rues poor start in defeat

England came into the game against the world champions still recovering from the loss of captain Adrian Morley, who was ruled out of the whole series after injuring his arm in the warm-up match.

They could have been forgiven for thinking their luck had changed in just the second minute of the game, as New Zealand danger man Manu Vatuvei went off clutching his right forearm after injuring it in a tackle without having even touched the ball.

But normal service was soon resumed, however, when on New Zealand's first set of six, Sau strolled over in the left-hand corner from close range to score the opener.

Minutes later it took desperate last-ditch defending to prevent Kenny-Dowall from adding a second on the right-hand side, as he was stopped from grounding the ball.

The home side showed far more purpose and confidence going forward, whereas England's rare threats always seemed to fall apart due to clumsy handling or poorly judged kicking turning over possession.


New Zealand always posed more threat and five minutes before the interval their long-overdue second try came, from full-back Hohaia.

Frank-Paul Nuuausala's delightful reverse offload found Marshall, who produced a fine turn of pace to stretch England before passing inside to Jason Nightingale, and Hohaia's good support run was rewarded when he eluded the grasp of Ryan Atkins to touch down.

Shortly before half-time England finally had their first sniff of the goal-line when Brown set up Sean O'Loughlin to burst clear, but the Wigan player looked almost surprised to find himself in a threatening position, and by the time he passed to Michael Shenton, New Zealand had got defenders back.

Unfortunately for England, the second half began as badly as the first, with Kenny-Dowall showing deft footwork and the ability to slide through tackles before he stretched out an arm to touch down for New Zealand's third try.

McNamara 'optimistic' despite defeat

England desperately needed a score and it came when Roby kicked ahead for St Helens team-mate James Graham, but the ball took a lucky defection off the goal post to rebound into his own path for him to touch down.

Widdop converted and within a minute he had added a try of his own, rounding off a superb counter-attack started by Shenton and built upon by Brown, who provided the try-sealing pass.

With 15 minutes left Brown thought he had closed the gap even further but he was ruled to have pushed Greg Eastwood out of the way to touch down.

Instantly England were punished as New Zealand went down the other end and Marshall found the tightest of gaps on the right-hand side to touch down.

Watch the whole game on BBC iPlayer (UK users only)

New Zealand: L Hohaia (Warriors); J Nightingale (St George Illawarra), S Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters), J Sa'u (Newcastle), M Vatuvei (Warriors); B Marshall (Wests Tigers, capt), N Fien (St George Illawarra); G Eastwood (Leeds), T Leuluai (Wigan), A Blair (Melbourne), S Mannering (Warriors), B Harrison (Canberra), J Smith (St George Illawarra).

Subs: B Matulino (Warriors), I Luke (South Sydney), F Pritchard (Penrith), F-P Nuuausala (Sydney Roosters).

England: G Widdop (Melbourne); D Goulding (Wigan), M Shenton (Castleford), R Atkins (Warrington), T Briscoe (Hull); K Brown (Huddersfield), S Tomkins (Wigan); S Fielden (Wigan), J Roby (St Helens), J Graham (St Helens, capt), G Ellis (Wests Tigers), S Burgess (South Sydney), S O'Loughlin (Wigan).

Subs: L Robinson (Huddersfield), D Griffin (Huddersfield), B Westwood(Warrington), J Tomkins (Wigan).

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see also
Graham regrets slow England start
23 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
NZ skipper pleased with aggression
23 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Australia 42-0 Papua New Guinea
24 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Tomkins fit for England's opener
21 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Hooker Leuluai named in Kiwi side
20 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Graham named as England captain
18 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Morley ruled out of Four Nations
17 Oct 10 |  Rugby League

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