England secure 20-14 victory over New Zealand

England won a thrilling Test match 20-14 against New Zealand today at Wigan, retaining the Baskerville Shield despite a fine Kiwi comeback late in the second half.
England coach Steve McNamara had brought Jermaine McGillvary into his squad to replace Joe Burgess on the right wing, while Matty Smith replaced his Wigan team-mate George Williams at scrum-half, and both players made a significant contribution.
England made a bright start, winning a goal-line drop-out when the Kiwis misjudged Zak Hardaker’s kick-off, and then Gareth Widdop kicked a goal when England were awarded a penalty for interference in the tackle by Jason Nightingale.
Elliott Whitehead scored the first of his two tries when he touched down a kick by Matty Smith for Widdop’s goal to give England an eight-point lead.
But the Kiwis struck back shortly before the interval with some superb handling that saw Jason Nightingale touch down in the corner and Issac Luke converted.
The Kiwis attacked constantly in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but couldn’t convert pressure into points and it was Whitehead and then skipper Sean O’Loughlin who gave England a 14-point lead after 72 minutes after two Widdop conversions.
But the Kiwis came roaring back, scoring late tries through the brilliant Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Jordan Kahu, but Luke couldn’t convert either try, and England held on for victory.
A full report, analysis and photos will feature in Monday’s League Express.