Wayne Bennett’s men will hope to replicate last weekend when debutant Oliver Gildart scored a match-winning try to secure a tense 18-16 victory at the KCOM Stadium.
Wigan centre Gildart had recently helped Wigan Warriors to victory in the Betfred Super League Grand Final. The 22-year-old had long been touted as a future England star and he produced an assured performance against a talented New Zealand outfit at Hull.
England got off to a fantastic start as Sam Tomkins broke through the Kiwi defence after just three minutes to establish a 6-0 lead.
New Zealand came back strong though as Esan Marsters levelled before captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak forced his way over to ensure a half-time lead.
After the restart, an illegal tackle from Watene-Zelezniak on Jake Connor resulted in a penalty try for England who once again found themselves on terms. Two penalties gave the visitors a 16-12 lead before Gildart’s try 14 minutes from time was enough to seal a fantastic victory.
The result gave England a 1-0 lead in the series, which is all the more remarkable given the fact that they were without twelve players from the squad that reached the World Cup Final last year.
This new-look side is now on a three-match winning streak with two victories over New Zealand and one over France last week, and England will be feeling quietly confident going into this weekend’s game.
Sunday’s game will kick off at Anfield at 14:30. A week later, the third and final Test will be played at Elland Road at 15:15.
Ahead of Sunday’s fixture, Wayne Bennett said "We're building some depth, which is important, and we're building a lot of young men with desire who really want to rattle the cages of Australia and New Zealand.
"It was important for both teams to play like we did at Hull to show everybody that it's a full-on Test series.
"It's the best of three games and I've no doubt next week won't be any easier. It will be tougher because New Zealand will want to win."
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