By John Davidson, Date: 12/11/18
New Zealand have restored some pride by smashing England 34-0 England in the third Test at Elland Road.
England had edged the first two Tests to retain the Baskerville Shield, but a double to Ken Maumalo and a masterclass from Kodi Nikorima ensured the Kiwis weren’t whitewashed in the series.
Michael Maguire’s side started strongly in Leeds and took the lead after just four minutes. Maumalo made the most of Dallin Watene-Zelezniak’s wild offload, stepping his way past four defenders to score.
Shaun Johnson converted to make it 6-0 and New Zealand continued to find openings in England’s defence.
England responded with sustained pressure on the Kiwis’ line and their persistence almost paid off when the 2018 Golden Boot winner Tommy Makinson dived over in the corner acrobatically. But the video referee decided Tom Burgess had obstructed in the lead-up and no try was awarded.
New Zealand almost extended their lead three minutes later, when Jamayne Issako reached out to score on the right wing. However, he had stepped into touch and the score was ruled out.
It was a bruising opening spell with several high shots going unpunished by referee Gerard Sutton.
Oliver Gildart got over the line in the 28th minute, but again the video referee intervened and Jermaine McGilvary’s knock on in the lead up meant the Kiwis remained in front.
Eight minutes before half-time Isaac Lui broke through under the posts after running a great line off Nikorima’s pass.
Nikorima was causing havoc and right on half-time he burst through the line, found Johnson in support and then took the return ball for a brilliant try. The Kiwis were in complete control at 18-0 at the interval.
In the second half they continued where they let off, Maumalo grabbing his second try off a Nikorima kick just four minutes in.
England were under the pump and lost Jake Connor to concussion. Jared Waera-Hargreaves was then sin-binned on 57 minutes for a professional foul on a prostrate Josh Hodgson.
The home team tried to take advantage of the extra man on the edges but Makinson stepped into touch and his try was ruled out.
England were having no luck with the video referee and then had to contend with 12 men of their own when McGillvary was carded for slowing down Watene-Zelezniak in the ruck.
The Kiwis’ turned the screws with Jesse Bromwich and Joe Tapine both crossing in the final 12 minutes.