Rugby League: England’s clash with Australia at London Stadium set to be crucial to hosts’ progress in Four Nations
PUBLISHED: 19:00 01 November 2016
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England return to capital on November 13, needing a win over World Cup holders
Following the narrow defeat to New Zealand last weekend, England’s Four Nations clash against Australia at the London Stadium is now more important than ever.
England fell agonisingly short against New Zealand in Huddersfield at the weekend, with Shaun Johnson’s drop goal edging the Kiwis to a 17-16 victory.
As a result, England’s third match of this year’s tournament against Australia on 13 November in Newham will be the decide whether the hosts progress.
England now must beat Scotland in Coventry on November 5, and then all roads lead to the London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park when Wayne Bennett’s are likely to need to beat World Cup holders Australia to secure their spot in the Four Nations final.
The match against New Zealand, which saw Londoner Dan Sarginson back in the England squad, was a closely fought contest with England dominating the opening 25 minutes but only had two penalties from the boot of Gareth Widdop to show for their admirable efforts.
Right winger Jermaine McGillvary had a couple of half-chances on his home ground, second rower John Bateman was held up over the line and impressive prop James Graham had a try disallowed for a double movement.
However, tries from England’s McGillvary and Ryan Hall’s 29th try in 29 caps for his country, converted by Widdop saw the sides level at 16-16 before New Zealand half-back Shaun Johnson once again inflicted English heartbreak with a drop goal on the 65th minute.
England head coach Bennett, taking charge of his first game in charge of the national team, said: “I’m disappointed in the result, but not the effort. The lads gave it everything but we need to improve to ensure that we win our next two matches.
“Australia are arguably the best side in the world and we will need to be on top of our game and have the whole of the country behind us in London to ensure we make this year’s Four Nations final.”
•England Rugby League return to London on November 13 at 2pm to take on World Cup holders Australia at London Stadium. This will be the first time these two sides have met on home soil since 2013. Tickets are still available from rugby-league.com/tickets.