England holds on to beat visiting Kiwis

Sean O'Loughlin the captain of England lifts the winners trophy alongside Josh Hodgson (C) and Mike Cooper (2R) after clinching the series 2-1 over New Zealand at DW Stadium  in Wigan. Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images.
Sean O'Loughlin the captain of England lifts the winners trophy alongside Josh Hodgson (C) and Mike Cooper (2R) after clinching the series 2-1 over New Zealand at DW Stadium in Wigan. Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images.

England coach Steve McNamara may have ensured himself a contract extension after steering his team to a 2-1 Test series win over New Zealand.

McNamara's job would have been on the line had his side lost at Wigan but his team turned up in atrocious conditions to win the deciding clash 20-14.

"New Zealand have been the No. 1 side and have physically dominated for the last two years," McNamara said.

"To beat them is a great credit to these players."

Clinging on to a two-point lead in the deciding Test against a New Zealand team entitled before this tour to call itself the best in the world, England scrambled over the winning line thanks to key players digging deep when they had to.

Elliot Whitehead, who is to join his English teammate Josh Hodgson at Canberra next season, drew a penalty for a high tackle. From that attack, John Bateman changed the angle with a strong run and Whitehead scored his second try.

Almost immediately Sean O'Loughlin (left), the England captain later named as player of the series, went through a hole that appeared in the Kiwi defence and scored far too easily for such a defence-minded series.

That should have been that, but two brilliant Kiwi tries re-opened all the possibilities and kept the tension bubbling to the end.

Jason Nightingale's instinctive back-handed pass as he was being herded towards touch laid on a score for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, and Kodi Nikorima's visionary cross-kick created another for Jordan Kahu.- INM



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