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GB v NZ 2006
Great Britain 46 v New Zealand 14
at Knowsley Road, St Helens
Referees: Steve Clark
Great Britain have run out convincing 46-14 winners over New Zealand at Knowsley Road in today's Test Match, in front of a healthy (and vocal) home crowd that certainly had plenty to cheer about.
The Kiwis started the match looking like the stronger team, and were able to claim the first try through giant winger Lesley Vainikolo. But from that promising early start, things went rapidly downhill as the Kiwis struggled to contain a fired-up Great Britain pack that was able to find plenty of space all over the paddock.
The Lions had reclaimed the lead by the 7th minute through Danny McGuire, and two further tries to Sean Long and debutant James Graham gave them an 18-4 lead at the break. Unfortunately for the home side, captain Paul Sculthorpe was forced from the field with knee ligament damage early in the match, and couldn't take any further part in the game.
The Kiwis weren't too worried about the half-time deficit, and returned to the field with the hope that they would finish the match strongly. However, three tries to Great Britain within the first 12 minutes quickly proved this theory to be slightly inaccurate.
The Lions continued to ram home their advantage, and pushed the score out to 36-4 before the Kiwis were able to hit back. Iafeta Paleaaesina managed to score thanks to an error from the home team, but normal service quickly resumed with further tries to Ade Gardner and Sean Long rubbing salt into some gaping Kiwi wounds.
Every player for Great Britain put in a tremendous performance in this match. Stand-outs included fullback Paul Wellens, halves McGuire & Long, and a pack of forwards that were determined not to take a backwards step. Roosters prop Adrian Morley contributed strongly, and received strong support from Fielden, Newton and debutant James Graham.
The Kiwis have promoted this match as a chance for some "lesser-lights" to press for inclusion in their Tri-Nations squad, and unfortunately several players may have written themselves out of the script. David Kidwell and David Solomona tried hard to produce some spark, but the team was obviously affected by the lack of an established halves combination. Ben Roberts tried hard in his International debut and has a promising future, but certainly isn't ready for this level of competition just yet.
Great Britain: 46
Tries: Danny McGuire(2), James Graham(2), Sean Long(2), Keith Senior, Ade Gardner
Goals: Sean Long 6/7, Paul Sculthorpe 1/1
New Zealand: 14
Tries: Henry Fa'afili, Iafeta Paleaaesina, Lesley Vainikolo
Goals: Stacey Jones 1/1, Ben Roberts 0/1, Motu Tony 0/1
Halftime: GB 18-4
By the Clock:
Great Britain: Wellens, Gardner, Gleeson, Senior, Pryce; McGuire, Long; Fielden, Cunningham, Morley, Peacock, Ellis, Sculthorpe; Newton, Gilmour, Graham, O'Loughlin.
New Zealand: Toopi, Vainikolo, Hape, Talau, Fa'afili; Roberts, Jones; Chan, Tony, Paleaaesina, Lauitiiti, Solomona, Kidwell; Paul, Hansen, Anderson, Betham.
Welcome to Knowsley Road! The teams are taking the field to a rousing reception from a healthy looking crowd. No rain at the moment, but apparently the ground is still pretty wet.
KICKOFF: We're underway!
3 min: TRY New Zealand
The Kiwi forwards have steamrolled Great Britain with their first use of the ball, and moved straight into a good attacking position. Stacey Jones puts up a huge cross-field bomb, and Lesley Vainikolo gets on top of his opposite number to claim the try.
Ben Roberts misses the conversion attempt.
New Zealand 4-0
7 min: TRY Great Britain
Two penalties conceded by the Kiwis give Great Britain plenty of attacking possession, and Danny McGuire is able to dummy his way through the defensive line to cross in the corner.
Paul Sculthorpe nails a great conversion from out wide.
Great Britain 6-4
12 min: Great Britain are looking sharp out here, and the Kiwis are conceding plenty of penalties which isn't making their job any easier!
13 min: VIDEO REF - Keiron Cunningham tries a trademark barge-over from dummy half, but is ruled to have lost the ball within plenty of Kiwi defense.
13 min: The Kiwis are awarded their first penalty of the match, but they don't find touch with their kick!
15 min: Stacey Jones misses out on a 40/20 kick by a matter of inches.
16 min: Paul Sculthorpe has left the field and headed straight up the tunnel.
18 min: The Kiwis survive an attacking set from Great Britain with some desperate defence on their own line.
23 min: With the Kiwis just metres out from the Great Britain tryline, Clinton Toopi throws a "Toopi Special" that goes 20 metres backwards.
25 min: A half-chance for the Kiwis - Stacey Jones spots a gap and tears up the middle, but his offload is snaffled by Terry Newton.
26 min: TRY Great Britain
Following a dropped ball from Willie Talau on his own 20-metre line, Terry Newton spots some space up the blindside that is well exploited by Keith Senior and Leon Pryce. James Graham is on hand to complete the movement and score a great try.
Sean Long adds the extras.
Great Britain 12-4
31 min: A huge Sean Long bomb is well claimed by Henry Fa'afili, who managed to hang on by his fingertips despite falling over at the same time.
32 min: TRY Great Britain
Terry Newton creates some space by attracting four defenders yet still managing to off-load the ball. Paul Wellens picks it up and passes to Sean Long, who is able to skip through for a try under the posts.
Long converts his own try.
Great Britain 18-4
35 min: NO TRY - Great Britain dot down in the corner through Ade Gardner, but the pass he received from Martin Gleeson is called forward.
39 min: The Kiwis pull out every concievable off-load in an attempt to add to their score before halftime - it looks fantastic, but ultimately unsuccessful.
40 min: A scrum win to the Kiwis on the stroke of half-time sees Stacey Jones put up a monster bomb to the corner, but Great Britain are able to get the ball over the sideline.
HALFTIME: Great Britain 18 New Zealand 4
Injury update: Paul Sculthorpe has suffered possible knee ligament damage, and won't be back for this match (at least).
41 min: The second half is underway! Great Britain recover their own kickoff with a great chase.
42 min: Gareth Ellis drops the ball with the tryline beckoning - a definite letoff for the Kiwis here.
46 min: ON REPORT - Lesley Vainikolo, for a dangerous throw on Martin Gleeson.
47 min: TRY Great Britain
The ensuing penalty gives Great Britain another attacking chance - this time, Paul Wellens makes a great bust up the middle and off-loads to Keith Senior for an easy run to the line.
Sean Long kicks the extra two.
Great Britain 24-4
49 min: TRY Great Britain
It's a carve-up!! Sean Long puts through a nice kick to the blindside that the Kiwis aren't able to contain. Paul Wellens picks up the loose ball and passes to James Graham, who is able to run 30 metres untouched to score his second try.
Sean Long steps up again and adds another two points.
Great Britain 30-4
52 min: The Kiwis are looking a bit shell-shocked now. Possession is running 70/30 in Great Britain's favour this half.
53 min: TRY Great Britain
From a scrum win 40 metres out, Danny McGuire receives the ball and jinks through some shaky Kiwi defence to claim his second try.
Sean Long adds yet another conversion.
Great Britain 36-4
58 min: The Kiwis are showing very little sign of being able to score again in this match, and are being completely out-enthused here.
60 min: As usual, I've spoken too soon. The Kiwis have forced a goal-line drop out - can they score again??
62 min: TRY New Zealand
The Great Britain defence held firm, but on attack Adrian Morley fumbles the ball straight to Iafeta Paleaaesina. "Feka" is able to crash over the line and claim a much-needed Kiwi try.
Stacey Jones kicks the conversion.
Great Britain 36-10
65 min: Ali "Afroman" Lauitiiti knocks-on as the Kiwis continue to try and spark their attacking machine into gear.
66 min: Another Great Britain fumble is claimed by Paleaaesina - who is penalised straight away for an incorrect play-the-ball.
68 min: TRY Great Britain
Great Britain continue to swing the ball from sideline to sideline - and this time, Ade Gardner takes advantage of some space created by Martin Gleeson to cross untouched in the corner.
Sean Long's conversion from out wide is waved away.
Great Britain 40-10
71 min: VIDEO REF - Great Britain are claiming a bizarre try here ...
71 min: TRY Great Britain
Sean Long kicks deep, and the chasers are put onside by a Kiwi touch. Leon Pryce is then able to chip infield, and Stuart Fielden shows some remarkable soccer skills to get the ball around Robbie Paul. From there, Sean Long picks up the scraps and slides in for his second try.
Great Britain 46-10
77 min: Leon Pryce throws Henry Fa'afili into touch with a great tackle while the Kiwis were looking dangerous out wide.
80 min: TRY New Zealand
It took another 77 minutes, but another Kiwi attacking raid has finally paid off! Following a scrum win, the ball finds its way to Ali Lauitiiti who creates space for his outside men with a nice offload. Henry Fa'afili is backing up and scores in the corner.
Motu Tony takes the conversion attempt, but it's waved away.
Great Britain 46-14
FULLTIME: Great Britain 46 New Zealand 14
As the score suggests, there was pretty much only one side in the match tonight. Great Britain were strong across the park and have claimed a well-deserved victory over a rusty-looking Kiwis team.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Paul Wellens (Great Britain)
2 - Sean Long (Great Britain)
1 - Terry Newton (Great Britain)