New Zealand denied England of a series whitewash with a remarkable 34-0 victory at Elland Road.
England already had the series and Baskerville Shield wrapped up thanks to wins in Hull and Liverpool, but New Zealand put in a fine performance in the third and final Test in Leeds.
Wayne Bennett made three changes to his England side that beat New Zealand at Anfield last week. Richie Myler, Joe Greenwood and Stefan Ratchford came in for Sam Tomkins, George Burgess and Stefan Ratchford. Greenwood made his international debut.
Michael Maguire also made three changes to his New Zealand outfit. Jamayne Isaako, Isaiah Papali’i and Joseph Tapine replaced Jordan Rapana, Martin Taupau and James Fisher-Harris.
The Kiwis drew first blood at Elland Road as Ken Maumalo went on a powerful charge to reach over the line. Shaun Johnson converted to give his side an early 6-0 lead.
Video referee Phil Bentham certainly earned his pay. He chalked off three tries in the first half as he denied Tommy Makinson, Kevin Proctor and Oliver Gildart tries.
The visitors extended their lead on the half hour mark as Isaac Liu stormed onto a flat ball from Kodi Nikorima to score. Johnson added the extras.
New Zealand punished England on the verge of the half-time hooter sounding. They took their chances and a fine move between half-back Johnson and Nikorima resulted in the latter scoring. Johnson’s boot made the score 18-0 to the Kiwis at the break.
The Kiwis were firing on all cylinders. Maumalo leaped above Jermaine McGillvary to collect Nikorima’s kick and touch down for his second.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was sent to the sin bin for a late shot on Josh Hodgson, while McGillvary was also handed a yellow card shortly after for committing a professional foul and holding down Joseph Manu in the tackle.
New Zealand grabbed two converted tries through Jesse Bromwich and Tapine late on to secure an impressive 34-0 win, although it was England who claimed a 2-1 series victory and lifted the Baskerville Shield.
England: Lomax; Makinson, Connor, Gildart, McGillvary; Williams, Myler; T Burgess, Hodgson, Graham, Bateman, Whitehead, Thompson. Subs: Hill, Milner, Greenwood, Ratchford.
New Zealand: Watene-Zelezniak; Maumalo, Marsters, Manu, Isaako; Johnson, Nikorima; J Bromwich, Smith, Waerea-Hargreaves, Proctor, Liu, Blair. Subs: K Bromwich, Ah Mau, Papali’i, Tapine.
Starman: Kodi Nikorima put in a special performance. He created a lot in attack and the majority of the New Zealand’s tries came through him.