Burgess’ toil as England draws first blood

England have taken out the first match of the three Test series against The New Zealand Kiwis 18-16 at Hull's KCOM Stadium.

While both sides weren't near their best, the spoils would go to England courtesy of some resolute defence that was there for all to see, particularly in the second half.

With scores locked up 12 a piece at the end of the first forty, New Zealand would be the first to regain the lead 10 minutes into the second half when Chris Hill was penalised for interference on Shaun Johnson right in front of the sticks. The Kiwi half added an extra two to the score to make it 14-12.

That lead would only last five minutes as a moment of deja vu occurred at the opposite end of the field to allow England to draw level once more in the 55th minute.

The tipsy topsy affair would continue after an offside penalty gifted New Zealand another two points from the boot of Johnson to make it 16-14 in the 61st minute.

England would come to life in shortly after following some individual brilliance from debut centre Oliver Gildart who streaked clear from an offload and showed a clean pair of heels to get around Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.

The ensuing conversion was waved away, however it was England who lead 18-16 in the 68th minute.

The scores remained the same as England went on to draw first blood in the three Test series.

South Sydney Rabbitohs forwards Thomas and George Burgess plied their trades nicely with Thomas called into the starting side ahead of Warrington prop Chris Hill.

He would go on to run for 124 metres, make 26 tackles and help swing the momentum in his side's favour through a 30-metre bust midway through the second stanza.

George on the other hand received less game time but brought plenty of energy when he was called upon in the 25th minute.

 "Both sides played really well. There wasn't much between the two teams. We had to stop them, they were throwing a lot at us." Said George.

 "We had to be desperate and defend our line."

England was the first to strike when Sam Tomkins celebrated his first game back on the international scene since 2014 when he dotted down in the third minute courtesy of some fortuitous offloading by winger Tom Makinson and Sean O'Loughlin.

A James Graham penalty put the Kiwis in field prime position for Johnson to work his magic in the 12th minute through an nicely timed inside ball for his centre Esan Marsters to keep the scores level at 6 all.

Winger Jordan Rapana came close to putting put New Zealand in front when English winger Tom Makinson attempted an offload while being pushed towards his own goal. England breathed a sigh of release when the video replay deemed that Rapana had knocked on in the build-up.

Jermaine McGillvary gave the Kiwis a golden opportunity to hit the lead when he knocked on at the play at the ball 25 metres out from his own line. From the ensuing scrum Nikorima put his skipper Dallin Watene-Zelezniak through in the 32nd minute. Johnson converted out wide to make it 12-6 in New Zealand's favour.

Seconds out from halftime, Shaun Johnson showed superior strength to hold up centre Jake Connor over the line, however England were awarded a controversial penalty try as result of Watene-Zelezniak's knees making contact with the player's head.

The ensuring conversion from right in front meant both sides went into the break at 12 a piece and would prove to be a point of conjecture both during and post-match.

The two sides will meet again next Saturday, 2.30pm local time or in Australia's case, Sunday, 12.30am AEDT at Liverpool's Anfield Stadium.