Oliver Gildart scored a match-winning debut try as England’s three-match series against New Zealand got off to a perfect start with an 18-16 win.
Sam Tomkins’ converted try gave England a 6-0 lead at Hull’s KCom Stadium before Esan Marsters levelled.
It was 12-6 to the Kiwis when Dallin Watene-Zelezniak dived over before England were awarded a penalty try as Jake Connor was illegally tackled.
Two more penalties gave New Zealand a 16-12 lead before Gildart’s score.
The 22-year-old centre, who helped Wigan to Grand Final success earlier this month, described his feat as a “shock to the system”.
The second Test is on Sunday 4 November, with the final Test to be played on Sunday 11 November.
Gildart try knocks Kiwis flat
The timing of the winning try could not have been more ideal. The Kiwis, who were stung by England in June in Denver, had put their hosts under pressure and went close when Kodi Nikorima was prevented from offloading the ball just a couple of metres from the try-line.
The moment that lifted the majority of the KCom Stadium crowd to their feet came 14 minutes from time. Second rower John Bateman did superbly to hold off three Kiwi tackles before passing to Gildart on his outside.
The Wigan man moved up the gears and feigned to come inside before stepping back outside and running over in the corner.
He told BBC Sport: “To score the winning try was unbelievable. I just backed myself, saw a bit of space and luckily got over.
“It happened really quickly. I sprinted as fast as I could, looked up to see the full-back and tried to beat him.
“I was just buzzing to make my debut for England and get the win. It’s a bit of a shock to the system and I really enjoyed it.”
It was the second brilliant play by England in the match – the first came moments after the start.
St Helens wing Tommy Makinson beat Jordan Rapana to take the ball from George Williams’ high bomb before feeding a pass to club-mate Jonny Lomax. He then found Catalans-bound Tomkins, who dived over for the opening score.
England’s other try was given after a long consultation with the video official. Connor thought he had gone over, but New Zealand’s players thought they had done enough to prevent him from touching down.
However, the decision favoured the hosts. Full-back Watene-Zelezniak was judged to have gone in illegally with his knees to hinder the England player and a penalty try was given.
England: Lomax, McGillvary, Gildart, Percival, Makinson, Williams, Myler, Hill, Hodgson, Graham, Whitehead, G. Burgess, T. Burgess, Bateman, Clark, Connor, O’Loughlin, Thompson, Tomkins.
New Zealand: Watene-Zelezniak, Maumalo, Marsters, Manu, Rapana, Johnson, Nikorima, J. Bromwich, Smith, Waerea-Hargreaves, Proctor, Liu, Fisher-Harris, K. Bromwich, Ah Mau, Taupau, Blair, Hughes, Tapine.
More to follow.
Source BBC News