England fans

Date: 8/11/15

New Zealand has leveled the Test series at 1-1 after a grinding 9-2 victory in front of 44,393 fans in London.

A crucial try to Shaun Kenny-Dowall in the second half, the only four-pointer of the game, was enough to get the Kiwis home.

The stage is now set for the deciding third Test in Wigan next Saturday.

The first half was a real arm-wrestle with both teams trading penalty goals. The score was locked at 2-2 at the break.

In the second break Kenny-Dowall broke the deadlock with a try in the right corner. Jordan Kahu converted from the sideline to give New Zealand a six-point lead.

The Kiwis held that advantage until a field goal from Jordan Kahu finally sealed the result.

James Graham got over the line late in the match but had the try ruled out from the video referee. Graham couldn’t get a hand to the ball, which had been grubbered through, and New Zealand escaped.

The Kiwis dominated possession and territory, enjoying 55% of the ball and 57% of position.

England was forced to make 36 more tackles but had the edge in the penalty count 7-6.

Kodi Nikorima, a late change for Tui Lolohea at halfback, made the difference as New Zealand were more patient and clinical in attack from the first Test. The men in black enjoyed six more repeat sets and made 13 more offloads.

Hooker Isaac Luke was influential and England struggled to break the Kiwi defence.

Both sides appeared nervy at times in a forward-dominated, hard-fought encounter at the Olympic Stadium.

The home team’s ball-handling let them astray and the likes of Kallum Watkins and Zad Hardaker had few opportunities in attack.

New Zealand co-captain Adam Blair said his team’s defence was key.

“All week we worked on our defence, we knew it let us down last week,” he said. “Credit to those boys they keep coming all day. I’ve got to thank my boys, we kept turning up for 80 minutes tonight.

“We had to be very patient. We got a few repeat sets on the line and things like that sometimes you get carried away, but we just kept building pressure.
“That’s what we’ve been working on.”

Blair said the Kiwis will be ready for the third Test in Wigan.

“100%, anything can happen,” he said.

“We’re going to go back to the drawing board. Add heaps of energy this week and get ready for a big game.

England captain Sean O’Loughlin said it was a difficult match.

“It was a tough game,” he said.

“It could go both way those games Credit to them for bouncing back.

“But we’ve got a bit of work to do now for next week.”

The two countries meet in the third and final Test at the DW Stadium on November 14.

England: (2) 2
Goal: Widdop

New Zealand: (2) 9
Try: Kenny-Dowall, Goal: Luke Drop-goal: Kahu