A record-breaking British display clinched victory in a full-scale Test series for the first time in 14 years as Jamie Peacock led the demolition of the dispirited Kiwis. In control from the time their man of the match and captain scored the first of the eight tries in the second minute, Tony Smith's side last night recorded their highest score against New Zealand on home soil.
It was a night of jubilation for a team that have been pushed out of second place in the international pecking order by the Kiwis in recent years. "To nil any team in a rugby league match is pretty good going," said Smith. "On top of that we scored some great tries and played some great entertaining rugby league."
Everyone played their part in a dominant team performance, but Britain were again vastly superior at half-back, where Leon Pryce and Rob Burrow both had fine games. That was a sign of this team's determination and that is something they will want to take into the third Test at Wigan next week, even though Smith hinted at making significant changes to rest some of his front-liners.
It could not have started any better for Great Britain, an early penalty setting up an attacking position. Debutant Jon Clarke passed cleanly from dummy half to Peacock, and his power and change of angle brought a try after 74 seconds, with Kevin Sinfield adding the conversion.
Great Britain stood up to a counter-attack and when they got a chance to apply pressure again, they were immediately incisive. A penalty awarded against Shontayne Hape for a foul on Raynor helped turn the screw and then Clarke, with efficient service from dummy half, was again the provider as Leon Pryce's good footwork took him over, with Sinfield converting.
In a curiously flat atmosphere, the tourists looked in vain for inspiration. By comparison, Great Britain had plenty of ideas and Raynor could have scored their third try when he chased Rob Burrow's long kick as the scrum-half opted to put it upfield early in the tackle count.
A minute before half-time, Great Britain moved the ball slickly left, with Keith Senior's deft pass giving Gareth Raynor the chance to dive low in the corner for a try on his home ground.
The arrival of Danny McGuire early in the second half triggered some extravagant handling. As with the previous let-off, the try was not long delayed, Pryce hoisting a crossfield kick and Senior palming down to give Paul Wellens a simple score.
The next try was symptomatic of the Kiwi disintegration. McGuire chipped the defence and Clinton Toopi gathered only to throw the ball away and allow Britain to move it to the right for Gardner to score.
Wellens then made a superb tackle on Taniela Tuiaki. Adrian Morley was also powerful in defence, followed by a charge upfield before half a dozen pairs of hands sent Burrow over. It was an outstanding try to highlight an outstanding British display, and Raynor's tackle on Hape showed their commitment to keep a clean sheet. Everything was going for them now and Wellen's kick bounced off two Kiwis to give Senior the next try.
To finish it off, Pryce went 50 metres for an intercept try. It summed up his evening, and New Zealand's. Their coach, Gary Kemble, will now face inevitable calls for his sacking. "I'm going to have review myself and see what I'm doing wrong, if I am," he said before sounding a defiant note. "Wait for the World Cup. We've got another team at home."
Great Britain: Wellens (St Helens), Gardner (St Helens), Gleeson (Warrington), Senior (Leeds), Raynor (Hull), Pryce (St Helens), Borrow (Leeds), Morley (Warrington), Clarke (Warrington), Peacock (Leeds), Ellis (Leeds), McLaughlin (Wigan), Sinfield (Leeds). Substitutes: Fa'asavalu (St Helens), Graham (St Helens), Burgess (Bradford), McGuire (Leeds).
New Zealand: Perrett (Sydney City), Tuiaki (Wests Tigers), Toopi (Leeds), Whatuira (Wests Tigers), Hape (Bradford), Hohaia (NZ Warriors), Leuluai (Wigan), Rapira (NZ Warriors), Halatau (Wests Tigers), Asotasi (South Sydney), Mannering (NZ Warriors), Pritchard (Penrith), Smith (Melbourne). Substitutes: Faiumu (North Queensland), Anderson (NZ Warriors), Eastwood (Brisbane), Moimoi (Parrametta).
Referee: T Archer (Australia).Reuse content