England: 12
New Zealand: 12

  • Sam Tomkins (3),
  • Jake Connor (38),
  • Oliver Gildart (67)
New Zealand:
  • Esan Marsters (12),
  • Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (32)

  • Jake Connor (3/3)
New Zealand:
  • Shaun Johnson (4/4)

  • Jonny Lomax,
  • Jermaine McGillvary,
  • Tommy Makinson,
  • Jake Connor,
  • Oliver Gildart,
  • George Williams,
  • Sam Tomkins,
  • Tom Burgess,
  • Josh Hodgson,
  • James Graham,
  • John Bateman,
  • Elliot Whitehead,
  • Sean O'Loughlin.
  • Subs: Luke Thompson,
  • Chris Hill,
  • George Burgess,
  • Daryl Clark
New Zealand:
  • Dallin Watene-Zelezniak,
  • Ken Maumalo,
  • Esan Marsters,
  • Joseph Manu,
  • Jordan Rapana,
  • Shaun Johnson,
  • Kodi Nikorima,
  • Jesse Bromwich,
  • Brandon Smith,
  • Jared Waerea-Hargreaves,
  • Kevin Proctor,
  • Isaac Liu,
  • James Fisher-Harris.
  • Subs: Kenny Bromwich,
  • Leeson Ah Mau,
  • Martin Taupau,
  • Joseph Tapine

Match report

Oliver Gildart's stunning second-half try, on his international debut, helped England to an 18-16 victory over New Zealand at the KCOM Stadium in Hull.

England were looking to build on their impressive World Cup but, for the opening match of this three-Test series, coach Wayne Bennett was able to select only seven players from the team that lost 6-0 to Australia in the final in Brisbane due to injuries and retirements.

Without a host of regulars, including Sam Burgess, Gareth Widdop and Kallum Watkins, Bennett handed a debut to centre Gildart and a recall to his Wigan team-mate Sam Tomkins, who was chosen to play at scrum-half.

New Zealand, fresh from a 26-24 win over the Kangaroos in Auckland, made a late change to their bench, bringing in second-rower Joseph Tapine in place of Adam Blair after he injured a knee in training.

England made the best possible start with a try from Tomkins after just two minutes.

However, the home side failed to build on it as the Kiwis came back strongly, equalising through centre Esan Marsters after half-backs Kodi Nikorima and Shaun Johnson opened up the England defence in ominously easy fashion.

New Zealand had a second try from winger Jordan Rapana disallowed by video referee Ben Thaler for a knock-on, but they went in front nine minutes before half-time when Nikorima made the running for full-back Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to score straight from a scrum 40 minutes out.

Johnson's second goal made it 12-6 but England, who were forced to re-organise after losing skipper Sean O'Loughlin and full-back Jonny Lomax to injury, drew level in dramatic fashion on the stroke of half-time.

Jake Connor forced his way over the line wide out and was adjudged to have been fouled in the act of scoring so referee Robert Hicks awarded a penalty try, which Connor converted to tie the scores at 12-12.

Johnson and Connor traded penalties in the third quarter before the former edged his side back in front after 61 minutes with a second penalty, awarded after Tom Burgess caught a ricochet ball in an offside position.

The pivotal moment came five minutes later when John Bateman squeezed out a pass on half-way to Gildart, who evaded the challenge of second-rower Isaac Liu and held off the chasers on a 40-metre dash to the line for a glorious try.

The score lifted both the crowd and the England players as they held on for a hard-fought victory that puts them 1-0 up in the series.