England head into their final Four Nations clash against New Zealand this Saturday knowing that only a win by 10 or more points will guarantee progression to the final – with a host of other permutations in the offing should that not transpire.
After that controversial defeat to Australia last Sunday, England’s fate is still in their own hands – but a win by any less than double figures will open the door for either Australia or Samoa to leapfrog England and advance to the final in Wellington.
And Steve McNamara has named an unchanged team for the clash in Dunedin – something he did last week, only two make two late changes to the team.
Under tournament rules, changes can be made in the days prior to kick-off, but as it is now, the same 17 players that took to the field against Australia will keep their place. That means Dan Sarginson is in again, after an impressive debut in Melbourne last weekend.
England team: S Tomkins (New Zealand Warriors); J Charnley (Wigan), K Watkins (Leeds), D Sarginson (Wigan), R Hall (Leeds); G Widdop (St George Illawarra), M Smith (Wigan); G Burgess (South Sydney), J Hodgson (Hull KR), J Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), L Farrell (Wigan), J Tomkins (Wigan), S O’Loughlin (Wigan, capt). Replacements: D Clark (Castleford), B Ferres (Huddersfield), T Burgess (South Sydney), C Hill (Warrington).
New Zealand team: P Hiku (Manly), J Nightingale (St George Illawarra), S Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters), D Whare (Penrith), M Vatuvei (New Zealand Warriors); K Foran (Manly), S Johnson (New Zealand Warriors); J Bromwich (Melbourne), I Luke (South Sydney), A Blair (Wests Tigers), S Mannering (New Zealand Warriors, capt), K Proctor (Melbourne), J Taumalolo (North Queensland). Replacements: T Leuluai (New Zealand Warriors), G Eastwood (Canterbury Bulldogs), M Taupau (Wests Tigers), T Harris (Melbourne).