Rugby League: England clinch Kiwis series to retain Baskerville Shield

The NZ Kiwis have fallen to a rugby league series defeat against England, after losing the second test 20-14 in Liverpool on Monday (NZ time).

Winger Tommy Makinson grabbed a hat-trick, as England bravely fought back from 14-6 down late in the second half in Liverpool, to seal the win and the series, after their 18-16 victory in Hull last weekend. 

Makinson's 74th-minute match-winning try was the difference, as England scored three tries in the final 23 minutes to overcome the eight-point deficit.

Replays showed Makinson may have lost control of the ball over the line, but TMO Ben Thaler didn't see enough evidence to overturn Gerard Sutioon's on-field decision of try.

The Kiwis were left to rue errors and ill-discipline, as they finished the match with a 69 percent completion rate, compared to England's 84 percent.

England led early in the match with a penalty goal in the fifth minute, when Jesse Bromwich smashed Sam Tomkins after he passed the ball.

But the Kiwis responded, when captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak sliced through some poor defence to score the game's opening try.

Just before halftime, George Williams floated a beautiful pass to Makinson, who dived over in the corner for his first try, as both teams went into the break locked up at 6-6.

The Kiwis were the first to score in the second half, when halfback Kodi Nikorima put Watene-Zelezniak through a hole and then the fullback found Ken Maumalo out wide for the try.

In the 57th minute, England were hot on attack and a wayward pass was nearly intercepted by Kiwis centre Joseph Manu, which would have all-but sealed the win for the Kiwis.

But that was the start of England's fightback, as Makinson grabbed his second on the following set to make the score 14-10.

Eight minutes later, Jake Connor levelled the match up with England's third try, when he exposed New Zealand's weak left-flank defence.

As the Kiwis began to crumble with errors and silly penalties, they lost winger Jordan Rapana to a shoulder injury, forcing a back-line reshuffle.

With six minutes left, Makinson scored the match-winning try to seal the series. 

The third test is scheduled for Monday, November 11 at Headingley Stadium in Leeds.


Join us next Monday for live updates of the Kiwis vs England rugby league test at Leeds