New Zealand beat England at Olympic Stadium to level series

England v New Zealand

New Zealand beat England 9-2 in the second game of the three-match series in the first rugby league contest to be played at the London 2012 Olympic Stadium.

After a 26-12 triumph in the first game in Hull last week England went into this clash as favourites to wrap up the series. But this was a different performance entirely.

The enterprising Kiwis kept the home team on the back foot for most of the game. Though England defended marvellously, at times they lacked the necessary punch up front to really cause the damage required.


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The only try of the game came a couple of minutes into the second half courtesy of winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall. England also got the ball across the line in the second half, but saw their effort controversially disallowed by the video officials.

Steve McNamara's defence held strong as the away side attacked. Chris Hill and Liam Farrell executed vital tackles on the line to keep the Kiwis at bay.

Gareth Widdop and New Zealand co-captain Issac Luke both scored penalties to send the teams in at half-time with the scores balanced at 2-2.

Despite the introduction of Tom Burgess, England lacked creativity and rarely troubled the kiwis in the second half.

Two minutes into the second half and Tohu Harris' fingertip pass set up Kenny-Dowall for the game's only try. Jordan Kahu converted and the Kiwis led 8-2. England mobilised and despite controlling the play for a large period, they lacked the required cutting edge.

England v New Zealand

Luke missed a penalty and the chance to put distance between the two teams and it looked it prove costly when Josh Hodgson's kick fell to James Graham for what looked like a straightforward try.

Video referees James Child and Phil Bentham ruled otherwise and concluded that Graham had failed to ground the ball. A Kodi Nikorima try was also disallowed by both referees after losing control before crossing the line.

The visitors completed a series-saving win with a Kahu drop goal four minutes from the final whistle.

The three-match series now moves onto the final game next Saturday at Wigan's DW Stadium.

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