New Zealand Kiwis resolute in narrow Four Nations win over England

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Raiders winger Jordan Rapana opened his New Zealand try account with a brace in the win over England. Photo: Jan KrugerCanberra Raiders winger Jordan Rapana franked his brilliant NRL season with a two-try effort to help lift New Zealand to a winning start in their Four Nations title defence.
Nanjing Night Net

Rapana scored the opening try of the game and then followed that up with a brilliant second-half effort that helped set up the 17-16 victory over England in Huddersfield on Sunday.

New Zealand halfback Shaun Johnson’s 65th-minute field goal proved the difference, despite England having 15 minutes to try and salvage something from the game.

Johnson also scored an intercept try just after half-time.

It means the Kiwis are well-placed to make the final, unless England can manage an upset against Australia in their final round-robin game of the tournament.

Rapana, who set a Raiders season try-scoring record with 23 in the NRL this year, capitalised on a Kiwis overlap to cross for his first international try in the 35th minute to give New Zealand a 6-4 lead.

He then doubled his tally in just his second Test when he got on the end of a Manu Ma’u offload near the middle of the field, England fullback Jonny Lomax unable to stop the rampaging Raiders flyer.

Kiwis captain Jesse Bromwich said they would take plenty of motivation out of the win, especially surviving some early England dominance in the opening 20 minutes.   #bleedgreen awesome to play against my pommy brothers! Tough win, but all the best for the rest of the tournament! cheers for the jersey @elliottw1989 it’s a bit tight iiiieeeehhhhA photo posted by JTRR (@jordoboorr) on Oct 29, 2016 at 9:45am PDT

England came away with only two Gareth Widdop penalties to show for their efforts and Bromwich thinks it will stand them in good stead when they clash with Australia next weekend in Coventry.

“I thought they started the game really well – we gave away a couple of penalties there, and we defended our backsides off,” he said.

“The lungs were gone at the start, but we did really well to hang in there.

“I guess we can take a bit of confidence out of that performance. We did it really tough at the start, but we were able to hang in there and grind it out.”

Rapana’s Raiders teammate Elliott Whitehead also got in on the action.

The England second-rower set up his team’s opening try with a nice cut-out pass to winger Jermaine McGillvary in the 48th minute to make it 12-10. with AAP


November 6: England v Scotland at Coventry, 4:30am; New Zealand v Australia at Coventry, 7am.

November 12: New Zealand v Scotland at Workington, 7am.

November 14: England v Australia at London, 1am.

November 21: Final at Liverpool, 1.30am.

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