The 2017 City of Culture Hull will be hosting the first of England’s three Test series against the Kiwis. Here’s everything you need to know…
Head coach Wayne Bennett has included Jake Connor, who will be the only Hull FC player to play in the England shirt at KCOM on Saturday, while former FC and Hull KR man Josh Hodgson could also feature.
Bennett sticks with 11 of the 17 that started in England’s last Test match against New Zealand in Denver, while Oliver Gildart could make his debut after missing the France game after winning the grand final.
His grand final-winning teammate Sam Tomkins returns to the squad for the first time under Bennett, his last England appearance came in 2014 against Saturday’s opponents.
Wakefield Trinity’s Tom Johnstone and Reece Lyne will miss out on Bennett’s first 19-man squad after making their International debuts against France, while Castleford Tigers’ Adam Milner, Warriors’ Joe Greenwood and Warrington Wolves star Stefan Ratchford will also miss out.
England’s 19-man squad: John Bateman (Wigan Warriors), George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves), Jake Connor (Hull FC), Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors), James Graham (St George Illawarra), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves), Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), Jonny Lomax (St Helens), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Richie Myler (Leeds Rhinos), Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors), Mark Percival (St Helens), Luke Thompson (St Helens), Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders), George Williams (Wigan Warriors).
Five new names have been included in the Kiwis squad to take on Australia and England.
Melbourne Storm’s Brandon Smith and Jahrome Hughes, Roosters centre Joseph Manu, Panthers’ Corey Harawira-Naera and Isaiah Papali’i from the Warriors are the potential debutants within the 23-man squad.
New Zealand spends their first full international campaign under new coach Michael Maguire, beating Australia 26-24 in Auckland on October 13, followed by the three-match series against England.
Forwards Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor also return to the fold, having served bans for using cocaine after last year’s ANZAC Test.
New Zealand 19-man squad: Leeson Ah Mau (St George-Illawarra Dragons), Adam Blair (Warriors), Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Kenneath Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), James Fisher-Harris (Penrith Panthers), Corey Hawawira-Naera (Penrith Panthers), Jahrome Hughes (Melbourne Storm), Jamayne Isaako (Brisbane Broncos), Shaun Johnson (Warriors), Isaac Liu (Sydney Roosters), Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters), Esan Marsters (Wests Tigers), Ken Maumalo (Warriors), Kodi Nikorima (Brisbane Broncos), Isaiah Papali’i (Warriors), Kevin Proctor (Gold Coast Titans), Jordan Rapana (Canberra Raiders), Brandon Smith (Melbourne Storm), Joseph Tapine (Canberra Raiders), Martin Taupau (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith Panthers).
HEAD TO HEAD
The last time the two sides met, England fought back from 12-0 down to beat New Zealand 36-18 in their ground-breaking Test match in Denver.
An encouraging crowd of 19,320 at the Mile High Stadium witnessed an impressive fightback from Bennett’s men, who looked way off the pace in energy-sapping conditions in the opening quarter but finished the game in total control.
Second rower Elliott Whitehead scored two of his side’s six tries while outside backs Jake Connor and Tommy Makinson also scored on debut as the new-look Kiwis were played off the park in the second half.
KEY BATTLE- James Graham v Adam Blair
Both are recognised as respected forwards so it’ll be these two that are going head-to-head at the KCOM Stadium this weekend.
Although both are lacking numbers in tries, the forward’s job is to try to break the defensive line and to wear out their opposition’s energy in order to set up an attacking play for the wingers and centres.
Whoever plays their part and pushes themselves further will help their team win the first Test.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 27th October
Venue: KCOM Stadium
Referee: Robert Hicks