Test Match One – England vs New Zealand preview


After months of anticipation, England and New Zealand finally clash in the first of three autumn international Test series matches this evening.

The KC Stadium shall host the match that shall be broadcast live on BBC Two from 16:45,  the first international Rugby League match televised by BBC since the 2013 World Cup Final.

England have named an unchanged 19-man squad following their rout of France last week, although Sam Tomkins misses out after failing to recover from an ongoing knee injury. Meanwhile, the Kiwis have received a selection boost after co-captain Adam Blair passed a fitness test and has been made available for selection whilst centre and Kiwis goal-kicker Jordan Kahu has also recovered from a hamstring problem to play.

New Zealand's co-captain Adam Blair has passed a fitness test.
New Zealand’s co-captain Adam Blair has passed a fitness test.

Kiwis head coach Stephen Kearney, who spent one year at the KC Stadium in 2005, is expected to hand a full international debut to half-back Tuimoala Lolohea after he played against Leeds in the warm-up match last week. Lolohea has been drafted in following injuries to senior half-backs Shaun Johnson and Kieran Foran ruled them out of the Test series.

November 8th 2014Four NationsNew Zealand 16-14 England
November 23rd 2013World Cup semi-finalNew Zealand 20-18 England
November 12th 2011Four NationsEngland 28-6 New Zealand
October 23rd 2010Four NationsNew Zealand 24-10 England
November 7th 2009Four NationsEngland 20-12 New Zealand

New Zealand’s last tour of England ended disastrously, losing 3-0 to Great Britain in 2007, a series that included a 44-0 defeat at the KC Stadium. However, Stephen Kearney’s side enter the 2015 series at the top of the World Rankings and have defeated England in the past two meetings between the teams.


England (from): J Bateman (Wigan Warriors), J Burgess (Wigan Warriors), T Burgess (South Sydney), M Cooper (St George Illawarra), L Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants), L Farrell (Wigan Warriors), B Ferres (Huddersfield Giants), J Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), R Hall (Leeds Rhinos), Z Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos), C Hill (Warrington Wolves), J Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), S O’Loughlin (Wigan), J Roby (St Helens), K Watkins (Leeds Rhinos), B Westwood (Warrington Wolves), E Whitehead (Catalans Dragons), G Widdop (St George-Illawarra), G Williams (Wigan Warriors).

Zak Hardaker is expected to start at fullback.

New Zealand (from): R Tuivasa-Sheck (New Zealand Warriors), J Nightingale (St George Dragons), J Kahu (Brisbane Broncos), D Whare (Penrith Panthers), S Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters), P Hiku (Manly Sea Eagles), T Lolohea (New Zealand Warriors), J Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), I Luke (New Zealand Warriors), S Moa (Sydney Roosters), K Proctor (Melbourne Storm), T Harris (Melbourne Storm), A Blair (Brisbane Broncos), K Nikorima (Brisbane Broncos), M Taupau (Manly Sea Eagles), B Matulino (New Zealand Warriors), S Taukeiaho (Sydney Roosters), A Glenn (Brisbane Broncos), L Brown (Penrith Panthers).