PREVIEW: World Rankings at Stake
England v New Zealand
KC Stadium, Hull
Sunday 1 November
Kick-off 5pm (UK time)
*Please note, kick-off of this match will be on Monday 2 November at 4am (AEDT) in Australia.
Rabbitohs prop-forward, Thomas Burgess, will line up for England for the second week running tomorrow morning (Australian time), this time against the world’s number one team, New Zealand, just one week after demolishing France 84-4.
Burgess could potentially take his place in Steve McNamara’s front-row alongside the likes of James Graham, in what will no doubt be a menacing looking proposition from across half-way for the Kiwis. Burgess will have the opportunity to notch up his seventh Test for his home country, after making his debut in the red and white in 2013.
While McNamara and his Englishmen will be looking to get off to a flying start against the much-fancied Kiwis for the sake of the three-Test International Series, there’s plenty more to play for – not just the Baskerville Trophy.
Results from the Series could have a dramatic effect on RLIF World Rankings. New Zealand snatched the top spot from Australia (2) in June of this year and, with the Kangaroos currently inactive, the Kiwis could stretch their lead at the top with strong performances in England.
England too however will know well that three wins against the black and whites could put pressure on the Kangaroos in second place and even position them for an assault on the top ranking in 2016.
World rankings are based upon:
- Results in full international matches only
- The current ranking of the opponent
- The result of the game and the score
- More recent results are given greater weighting
England’s last victory against New Zealand was in 2011 at the KC Stadium when a 28-6 victory secured the team’s place in the Four Nations Final. Six players – James Graham, Ryan Hall, Sean O’Loughlin, James Roby, Ben Westwood and Gareth Widdop – are the only members of the 2015 squad to have ever tasted success against the Kiwis.
England Coach, McNamara, has stuck with the same 19 players named for the game against France, with the expected return of star fullback Sam Tomkins shelved through injury.
“We have named the same 19 as last week,” said McNamara.
“The squad is looking forward to the first match of the international series against New Zealand.
“We've set ourselves up to perform well in the four internationals that we've got and the French result, last week, was a good reflection of the way the team prepared and practised in the two weeks prior to it.
“We did well, there's areas for improvement, of course, and we'll come under much more pressure and intensity this week. It's about being able to perform to the same level even though the pressure is on. We're looking forward to that challenge.”
For the Kiwis meanwhile, Coach Stephen Kearney has opeted for youth, with centre Jordan Kahu, halback Tuimoala Lolohea, forward Siosiua Takieaho and utility Kodi Nikorima all in line to earn their first Test caps.
The quartet debuted for their country against Leeds Rhinos last week, with Kearney sticking with the group that defeated the champion English club champions.
“The purpose of last week’s exercise was to give a run to some guys that hadn’t played in a while,” says Kearney.
“It was a matter of building that consistency, that’s why they’ve got the opportunity again this week.”
Kahu (groin) and co-captain Adam Blair (calf) both left the Leeds encounter with injuries, but have recovered sufficiently to be included in the extended 19-man test squad. Both starting line-ups will be finalised shortly before kick-off.
John Bateman (Wigan Warriors, Bradford Dudley Hill)
Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)
Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)
Mike Cooper (St George Illawarra Dragons, Latchford Albion)
Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants, Newsome Pnthers)
Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Brett Ferres (Huddersfield Giants, Smawthorne Panthers)
James Graham (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, Blackbrook)
Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)
Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos, Featherstone Lions)
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves, New Spring Lions)
Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders, East Hull)
Sean O’Loughlin, captain (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
James Roby (St Helens, Blackbrook)
Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos, Latchford Albion)
Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves, Normanton Knights)
Elliott Whitehead (Catalans Dragons, West Bowling)
Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons, King Cross)
George Williams (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
2. Jason Nightingale
3. Jordan Kahu
4. Dean Whare
5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall
6. Peta Hiku
7. Tuimoala Lolohea
8. Jesse Bromwich
9. Issac Luke
10. Sam Moa
11. Kevin Proctor
12. Tohu Harris
13. Adam Blair
14. Kodi Nikorima
15. Martin Taupau
16. Ben Matulino
17. Siosiua Takeiaho
18. Alex Glenn
19. Lewis Brown