WHEN it comes to international rugby league, England have failed to win a major trophy since the 1972 World Cup.
As newly named captain, Sam Burgess was hoping to start out on the route to next years World Cup with a win over the top side in the world, New Zealand.
This Four Nations tournament, that comes to a head at Anfield on the 20th November, was supposed to be the launch of a new era with legendary Australian coach Wayne Bennett at the helm ahead of the World Cup next year.
As it was, it was a case of same old England as they faced New Zealand in Huddersfield today as they were beaten 16-17.
It will now take England beating both Scotland and Australia to make the final in Liverpool
— Rugby Football League (@TheRFL) October 29, 2016
A 65th minute drop goal from Shaun Johnson, the same player that broke England hearts in the 2013 World cup semi final, was all that separated the two sides after 80 minutes, but it was the errors from England allied to the lack of kicking boots from New Zealand that made this an intriguing watch from start to finish.
It's the hope that kills you ? #4Nations
— Gareth Walker (@garethwalker) October 29, 2016
England made the mistake of kicking two early penalties and showing the visitors that they didn’t feel they were capable of scoring a try, and that psychological edge is the difference between winning and losing.
England need to use their wide men better if they are to beat both Scotland (Next week at the Ricoh arena in Coventry) and Australia to make the final.
Both the wingers did score, but had Dan Sarginson passed to Ryan Hall and not dropped the ball with the winger in clear space, the result could have been very different.
On the other wing, Callum Watkins seemed to forget that Jermaine McGilvary was outside him, as he constantly came back inside, rather than passing to his wing man.
In the end though, it was the kicking skill and patience of New Zealand that beat England today.
The visitors were on top for the most part in every area of the field, and the return to an England RL shirt of Sam Burgess could do little to stem the Kiwi flow as they slipped tackle after tackle and made England look far from impressive.
Classic from @danlocky1 on the press bench: "you could buy all the tickets of the raffle for England and they still wouldn't win it."
— The Game Caller (@TheGameCaller) October 29, 2016
England captain Sam Burgess: “We probably lost that game ourselves. We showed resilience in defence and gave ourselves a chance, but it’s an empty feeling at the moment.
“There’s belief in this squad, we’re taking it day by day. We’ll rest up, recover tomorrow and then attack the week as it comes.”
Widnes head coach Denis Betts, one of England’s coaching staff: “I think it was a great Test match, a fantastic stadium and crowd and a great contest against a side that is a fantastic team.
“Wayne Bennett has just said in the changing rooms this is the start of the journey. Everybody’s effort was high but we were a little bit dumb at times. Sam (Burgess) came off the field and knows in his heart that there are certain things we could do better.
“The big challenge for Wayne and the coaching team is getting players to make less mistakes that are costly at this level. We are looking at a small picture, we have a game next week and we are already in preparation for that.”