Steve McNamara made the bold move of drafting in Matty Smith and Jermaine McGillvary for this weekend’s match with New Zealand.
But it paid off as both players put in exceptional displays to help England win the test series against the world’s highest-ranked side, with Smith’s performance earning him the man of the match award.
Smith replaced Wigan teammate George Williams whilst McGillvary was preferred over Joe Burgess, and McNamara was delighted with their performances.
“Both were tremendous,” said McNamara.
“Jermaine was out on his feet but his effort was great and he brought to us what I felt we needed. It was another wet game and a fight for field position and Jermaine was very good at getting out of his own end. He won us penalties and play-the-balls and he managed to wrestle play back for us.
“Matty deservedly got man of the match; he controlled the game for us really well and kicked well all afternoon. He played smart and brought others into the game at the same time.”