New Zealand look to maintain unbeaten home record over GB and England

James Gordon

New Zealand will be hoping to maintain their unbeaten home record over Great Britain and England, which dates back to 1992.

They won the first of two tests against Great Britain 12-8 on Saturday, with the second test taking place in Christchurch next week.

The last time GB beat the Kiwis on home soil was in July 1992, when Garry Schofield captained the Lions to a 19-16 victory.

Captain Benji Marshall said: “It was a battle, a constant grind for the whole game.

“There were moments where we let our pressure slip and they capitalised. But in the end I’m really proud of the boys, not only to get the win but the fight at the end there.”

Marshall celebrated his first win as captain since 2011, while Adam Blair became just the second player to make 50 test appearances for New Zealand.

The game was part of a triple-header at Eden Park, which saw Tonga stun Australia and Fiji pick up a surprise victory over Samoa.

International Rugby League federation southern hemisphere general manager, Jeremy Edwards, said: “Today’s Triple Header at Eden Park once again demonstrated the positive direction International Rugby League is heading and the massive strides the game is making at this level.

“The atmosphere created by this wonderful, passionate crowd and the outstanding quality of all three Tests more than matched what was a momentous occasion for our code.

“Australia thoroughly deserve their capture of the inaugural Oceania Cup, but the Tongan team indisputably cemented their place among world Rugby League’s heavyweights. What an incredible victory, one no fan of the game will ever forget.

“Fiji Bati’s brilliant display to beat Toa Samoa – which many may have regarded as a surprise result –emphasised how many genuinely competitive nations we have at International level. They’ll be eager to seal their place in Group A of the 2020 Oceania Cup when they face Papua New Guinea at next week’s Double Header.

“New Zealand and Great Britain turned on a classic arm-wrestle, real edge-of-the-seat stuff – and no doubt the Lions will be desperate to square the series in Christchurch.”