Hunter-Paul believes Kiwis have little home advantage against England

Former New Zealand test star Robbie Hunter-Paul thinks England can capitalise on their Four Nations clash against the Kiwis being played outside rugby league heartlands.

The game is being played in Dunedin this Saturday, a long way from rugby league’s Kiwi heartland in Auckland.

“New Zealanders are extremely patriotic so rugby fans will turn up no matter what but they just won’t be the traditional rugby league supporters,” said Hunter-Paul.

“Playing in Dunedin is no big an advantage to New Zealand.

“Of course I am extremely biased and the odds are with the Kiwis, they’re on home soil, there is a confidence brewing within the team but they can’t be thinking of the final already, they must focus on this game.

“They have to replicate the dominance and ad-hoc kind of rugby they have shown.

England have a lot to prove, losing against Australia last weekend and being beaten by New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final last year means that they will be out to make amends.

“It is so important that they respect the ball against the Kiwis or else they’ll be in trouble.

“On the other hand, they have nothing to lose and they are such a young squad, they’ll be wanting to live the fairy tale.”

Hunter-Paul is expecting a fine game, however, with both teams packed with talent.

“This game is virtually a semi-final, both coaches will be saying to their players that this is a must-win situation and just because the Kiwis have won all their games, it is no foregone conclusion that they will reach the final,” he added.

England were robbed of the game against Australia but New Zealand have been playing extremely well. They have a big pack that can deal with England, no problem.

“There are some real gems that have been uncovered in the Kiwi squad including Shaun Johnson, who seems to always make something out of nothing, and Manu Vatuvei, who finishes strongly every single time he has the ball: however the team is a far from a completed product.

“But England have their own stars, Chris Hill, the Burgess brothers, Tom and George, and James Graham have all impressed me.”

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