England v New Zealand: Teams

At KC Stadium, Saturday November 12, kick-off 6pm

Last updated: 11th November 2011   Subscribe to RSS Feed

England v New Zealand: Teams

Steve McNamara: Has delayed naming his side

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England and New Zealand will do battle at the KC Stadium to decide who will meet Australia in this year's Four Nations final.

Saturday's match is a winner-takes-all showdown, with both nations recording comfortable victories over Wales and losing to Australia so far.

Steve McNamara's side do at least have good memories of facing the Kiwis in Hull - they defeated their next opponents by two points at the same venue back in 2004 to squeeze through to the Tri-Nations final, then thrashed them 44-0 three years later in a one-sided Test series.

They also ran out 20-12 victors in the corresponding match of the 2009 Four Nations at Huddersfield, though New Zealand triumphed in the last meeting, in Wellington last year.

The incentive for both teams is the chance of another crack at the Kangaroos, something forward Jon Wilkin admits England are desperate for after their 36-20 defeat at Wembley last weekend.

Massive game

"We are looking forward to what is a massive game in terms of the Four Nations for us," he told Sky Sports NewsHD.

"Getting to the final has always been our goal and we are really keen to have another crack at Australia. We felt we acquitted ourselves well against them first time, but we think we can do better."

For the first time in the tournament McNamara could be forced to make changes to his team.

He has delayed the announcement of his line-up due to injury concerns over experienced forwards Jamie Peacock, James Graham and Gareth Ellis, meaning it is still possible the trio could be fit to play.

"They are obviously three important players for us and we are hoping they can play," said Wilkin after training at the KC Stadium on Friday morning. "I think the medical team will have to make some decisions on them, and we've certainly not picked the side just yet.

"But we are very confident in the 24-man squad we've got. The lads that are in there have been picked for a reason, and that is to do a job should we get injuries.

"Hopefully, though, these three big, experienced players will be fighting fit to take on the Kiwis."

Rangi Chase is certainly fit to play and the half-back will be the centre of attention as he goes up against the country of his birth.

The Castleford Tiger played against England for the New Zealand Maoris last year but will this weekend be lining up against some of his old team-mates.

Laid back

Wilkin insists Chase can cope with the added pressure, adding: "Rangi is probably one of the most laid back guys you could ever meet - if he were any more laid back he would be horizontal. He takes everything in his stride.

"There's been a lot of media focus on him, after deciding to play for England.

"But as an England player, and as a proud Englishman, what you're looking for from the guy is commitment - commitment to our badge and commitment to our national identity. In that respect, we couldn't ask any more from him."

Like his English counterpart, New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney - who spent a season playing in Super League for Hull FC - has delayed naming his starting XIII, with no announcement expected until the day of the game.

The Kiwis have a major doubt over prop Fuifui Moimoi (ankle) and are certain to be without fellow front rower Sam McKendry, who has a broken jaw.

Hooker Issac Luke and second-rower Simon Mannering could both return after being rested for their side's 36-0 victory over Wales at Wembley.

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