New Zealand defeat England to level series

New Zealand defeated England 9-2 at the Olympic Stadium, London, to tie the three Test Series at 1-1.

The third and deciding Test will be played at a sold-out DW Stadium, Wigan, next Saturday.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall scored the only try of the game for the Kiwis, who trailed 2-0 early on thanks to a Gareth Widdop penalty.

Man of the Match Isaac Luke slotted over a two-pointer for the visitors to send the sides in level at half time.

Jordan Kahu added a drop goal in the final 10 minutes to seal victory for New Zealand in front of almost 45,000 spectators in the Capital.

England’s goal line defence was superb in the first 40, frequently repelling the Kiwi attack.

Peta Hiku and Kodi Nikorima, New Zealand’s half back pairing, struggled to cause any problems with the kicking game in the first half, but improved throughout the second period.

James Graham had a try disallowed by video referees James Child and Phil Bentham after he chased down a Josh Hodgson grubber kick under the posts. It was a decision rued by Steve McNamara: “Who knows what would have happened but I think it was very decisive – James is confident he scored, the referee thought he scored but sometimes it doesn’t go your way,” England’s head coach said via the Daily Telegraph.

“They must have found something very conclusive to disallow it. I’d have to back their judgment on that but it seems strange.

“When James had his try disallowed, it would have put us in a drawn situation. I think that would have been a tremendous finish to the game, there were seven minutes left, to see which team would have come over the top of the other team.”

Nikorima might have added a second try for his side but grounded the ball short of the line before losing control of it under pressure from Elliott Whitehead.

But Kahu’s late drop goal put two scores between the two sides to send the series into a decider in Wigan next week.

New Zealand head coach Stephen Kearney said that the decision to disallow Graham’s try was ‘fortunate’ for his side: “From my point of view, I did not see complete downward movement with the hands, so, yes, that’s football,” he told BBC Sport.

“A couple of calls did not go our way last week. We were fortunate today, which makes for a share of good luck.”

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