All eyes will be on Twickenham come Saturday afternoon when the country’s Union boys go head-to head but first the League boys will battle it out for a place in the Four Nations final.
England need a 10-point win to guarantee a place in the Four Nations final when they take on the Kiwis but revenge will also be on Steve McNamara’s side’s mind following last year’s World Cup semi-final defeat.
England were on the end of a 20-18 defeat after Shaun Johnson’s try at the death booked New Zealand a place in the World Cup final that time and the tourists, who are 7/4 for victory, will be desperate to put that result right.
Apart from New Zealand’s opening weekend win over Australia all the matches in the Four Nations have been relatively close.
And with the last two meetings between the two sides ending in a two-point win for the Kiwis and a comprehensive England win, those results point to backing England with a handicap advantage.
England have proved they are getting closer at this level and with more improvement expected against a New Zealand side who struggled against Samoa, we are backing them at 10/11 to win the bet with a six-point advantage.
In the absence of Sam Burgess, Sam Tomkins is arguably England’s best player but with just one try to his name in the tournament so far McNamara’s side will be hoping he can come to the party against New Zealand.
With a 10-point victory guaranteeing England a spot in the Four Nations final, the tourists will need a few moments of magic and Tomkins, who lines up against three of his New Zealand Warriors club-mates, will desperate to put on a show.
England boast the best forward pack in the tournament and they showed that with the way they built a 12-4 half-time lead against world champions Australia last week.
But, as always, the problem with England lies with their inability to last 80 minutes against the top sides and that was proved correct again as Australia ran out last-gasp winners.
It was the same case against the Kiwis in the Rugby World Cup semi-final with Shaun Johnson’s late try sealing New Zealand’s dramatic win, and it could pay to back another bright England start but another capitulation to follow.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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