England v New Zealand 2nd Test Tips, Predictions and Match Preview - Kiwis to level series

James Wells 1 Nov 2018
England and New Zealand

England claimed first blood last week in a hard-fought 18-16 last week over New Zealand and target a 2-0 lead in the three-game series ahead of Game 2 at Anfield on Sunday, November 4.

Match Preview


Led by player of the match Elliott Whitehead, the hosts struck very early with Sam Tomkins celebrating his return to the national side with a try in just the second minute of the opening game. 

Despite the ominous early start, a tight tussle ensued, but after the Kiwis took the lead with two tries in response, the English made a key strike in the 39th minute, as well as the only score of the second half to win the contest. 

Although the locals will have taken much satisfaction from the win, Kiwi fans have plenty of reason to believe things will change this week. 

While many will still be questioning the penalty try awarded to England, that aside, the Kiwis were ahead in many facets of the game. A better completion rate, more metres, more post contact metres, more tackle breaks, nearly double the average set distance, faster player the ball speed, better effective tackle percentage, fewer missed tackles, the stats make for good reading if you're a Kiwi. 

All of that came undone, however, due to two main areas, errors and penalties. Nine errors to seven, and most concerning nine penalties conceded to five. If the Kiwis are wondering what went wrong, the answers are right there. Particularly when one English try came off a mistake diffusing a kick, and the hotly debated penalty try. 

It is for these reasons, however, that I am on-board with the Kiwis this week, and it is interesting to note that despite the loss, New Zealand have actually become a stronger favourite with the bookies this week as well. 

The Kiwi players were very quick to identify these issues, and while it's another matter to sort it out on the field, discipline in particular is something that can be addressed quickly if everyone buys in. 

Some will argue that simply having a different referee this week will solve the problem. I'm not ready to give them that excuse, but am confident that with what the Kiwis showed last week they are the better team here if they can be a little better behaved.

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England v New Zealand 2nd Test Tips, Predictions and Match Preview - Kiwis to level series

England claimed first blood last week in a hard-fought 18-16 last week over New Zealand and target a 2-0 lead in the three-game series ahead of Game 2 at Anfield on Sunday, November 4.

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