ENGLAND will take on New Zealand in the first of a three test series at the KC Stadium in Hull on Sunday (KO 17:00 GMT).

The game itself is live on BBC2 from 16:45 GMT and the two teams had very different warm up games ahead of this three test series.

The Kiwis played a Leeds Rhinos side who were saying goodbye to a number of players, as well as giving former players Adrian Morley and Ali Lauititi a final hurrah on the Headingly stage.

As it was, the visitors eventually ran out winners in a tough 16-34 encounter, scoring seven tries. They did however pick up a couple of injuries to co-captain Adam Blair who picked up a calf injury, meaning he will probably miss at least one and possibly two tests and a groin injury to Jordan Kahu that means he will miss the first test.

That’s not to say that the Kiwis will be under strength when they make the trip to West Hull.

As head coach Stephen Kearney told the New Zealand Herald: “We understand that we are going to have to really improve in a number of areas from the performance against Leeds. We will go further ahead in our preparation over the next few days just because of that.”

England, however, had a different proposition on this side of the Pennines.

Whilst the Kiwis drew over 20,000 fans to Leeds, England played France at the Leigh Sports Village in front of under 9,000.

The crowd did see some tries though, with the home side running out 84-4 winners scoring 15 tries between them, with both Brett Ferres and debutant John Bateman running in hatricks against an understrength French side.

The old saying is that you can only play what is put in front of you, but surely England needed a sterner test than this ahead of facing the best team in the world?

“It can be a tricky situation when the scoreboard gets the way it did, but I thought it was a very thorough and professional performance,” head coach Steve McNamara said.

“I liked the connections and combinations and it was nice to see the players pretty much in sync with each other. The ideal situation would have been a tougher game, but we learned some things from that game it was good to come through injury free.”

Both will announce their 19 man squads later this week, but given the strength England have, the only player who looks set to return is Sam Tomkins who missed the France game through injury.

England (from): John Bateman, Joe Burgess, Tom Burgess, Mike Cooper, Leroy Cudjoe, Ben Currie, Liam Farrell, Brett Ferres, Luke Gale, James Graham, Ryan Hall, Zak Hardaker, Chris Hill, Josh Hodgson, Jermaine McGillvary, Sean O’Loughlin, James Roby, Matty Smith, Sam Tomkins, Kallum Watkins, Ben Westwood, Elliott Whitehead, Gareth Widdop, George Williams.

New Zealand (from): Issac Luke, Gerard Beale, Jesse Bromwich, Lewis Brown, Alex Glenn, Tohu Harris, Peta Hiku, Shaun Kenny-Dowell, Isaac Liu, Tuimoala Lolohea, Ben Matulino, Sam Moa, Jason Nightingale, Kodi Nikorima, Kevin Proctor, Curtis Rona, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Jason Taumalolo, Martin Taupau, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dean Whare.

By Andie Riley

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