McNamara names unchanged England squad for Kiwi clash

England coach Steve McNamara has named an unchanged team to face New Zealand at the KC Stadium in Hull on Sunday evening.

England beat France 84-4 last week, and McNamara has seen no reason to alter the personnel at his disposal.

That means it is likely that Wigan’s John Bateman will start in the centres, with George Williams partnering Gareth Widdop at half-back.

“We have named the same 19 as last week,” said McNamara.

“The squad is looking forward to the first match of the international series against New Zealand.

“We’ve set ourselves up to perform well in the four internationals that we’ve got and the French result, last week, was a good reflection of the way the team prepared and practised in the two weeks prior to it.

“We did well, there’s areas for improvement, of course, and we’ll come under much more pressure and intensity this week. It’s about being able to perform to the same level even though the pressure is on. We’re looking forward to that challenge.

“As for New Zealand, we saw some of the real strengths they possess against Leeds Rhinos last Friday. As the game wore on, their combinations improved and their world-class players really shone.

“It’s great for us to be playing in Hull. This place is one of the heartbeats of rugby league, with very passionate fans and two Super League teams in the city.

“When all of those things come together to support the team, it’s very special. Every time we’ve played in Hull as an international team the players have always commented on the tremendous support that they’ve received, and how passionate everybody is.

“We’ve had some great experiences here, and hopefully Sunday will prove to be another one.”

ENGLAND SQUAD

John Bateman (Wigan Warriors, Bradford Dudley Hill)
Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)
Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)
Mike Cooper (St George Illawarra Dragons, Latchford Albion)
Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants, Newsome Panthers)
Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Brett Ferres (Huddersfield Giants, Smawthorne Panthers)
James Graham (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, Blackbrook)
Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)
Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos, Featherstone Lions)
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves, New Spring Lions)
Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders, East Hull)
Sean O’Loughlin, captain (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
James Roby (St Helens, Blackbrook)
Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos, Latchford Albion)
Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves, Normanton Knights)
Elliott Whitehead (Catalans Dragons, West Bowling)
Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons, King Cross)
George Williams (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)

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