A hat-trick from Tommy Makinson helped England beat New Zealand at Anfield and win the autumn Test series with one game still to play.
The Lions edged past the Kiwis 20-14 at Anfield on Sunday afternoon to claim a 2-0 series win, with the third and final Test to be played at Elland Road next Sunday.
Wayne Bennett made one change to his England side that beat New Zealand in the first Test last weekend. Adam Milner replaced the injured Sean O’Loughlin.
New Zealand coach Michael Maguire also made one change to his outfit. Joseph Tapine made way for Adam Blair, who returned from injury.
England took an early lead at Anfield through a Jake Connor penalty goal after Jesse Bromwich’s late hit on Sam Tomkins.
The Kiwis scored the first try of the game though. Captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak caught the England defence napping as he skipped through to score. Shaun Johnson converted and they were 6-2 ahead.
St Helens star Tommy Makinson produced two try-saving tackles in the space of five minutes midway through the first half and they both came against opposite number, Jordan Rapana.
Makinson, who was playing in just his third international game, brought the score level in the 38thminute following a fine cut-out pass from George Williams. The score was 6-6 at the break.
New Zealand got off to a fine start in the second half. Watene-Zelezniak stormed through the England defence to assist the supporting Ken Maumalo. Johnson’s conversion, coupled with a penalty goal moments later, gave the Kiwis a 14-6 lead.
Makinson was having a sensational game and got his second as the ball went through quick hands. Connor failed to convert and they were just four points behind.
Tom Burgess crashed over the line shortly after Makinson’s effort, but the video referee deemed him to be held up.
England came into their own in the second half and grew in confidence. They went the short side and Connor wriggled his way through a gap to level the score.
With just six minutes to go, Makinson completed his hat-trick following a brilliant 30-metre break which completely cut the New Zealand defence open. Tomkins converted to put England 20-14 ahead.
It was a nervy last five minutes but England held on to secure the win at Anfield and the autumn Test series against the Kiwis.
England: Lomax; Makinson, Connor, Gildart, McGillvary; Williams, Tomkins; T Burgess, Hodgson, Graham, Bateman, Whitehead, Thompson. Subs: Milner, Hill, G Burgess, Clark.
New Zealand: Watene-Zelezniak; Maumalo, Marsters, Manu, Rapana; Johnson, Nikorima; J Bromwich, Smith, Waerea-Hargreaves, Proctor, Liu, Blair. Subs: K Bromwich, Ah Mau, Taupau, Fisher-Harris.
Starman: Tommy Makinson bagged a hat-trick in just his third international game. He was as good in defence as he was in attack – incredible.