England v New Zealand: 'We'll get them singing You'll Never Walk Alone,' says Tom Burgess

By Saj ChowdhuryBBC Sport
England v New Zealand, second Test
Venue: Anfield Date: Sunday, 4 November. Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two, the BBC Sport website and app from 14:00 GMT, plus commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and text updates online

England will get the crowd singing You'll Never Walk Alone at Anfield on Sunday, says prop Tom Burgess, whose side will aim to complete a second successive series win over New Zealand.

Debutant Oliver Gildart's second-half try earned the home side an 18-16 win over the Kiwis in the first Test.

But Hull's KCom Stadium was said by some to have lacked atmosphere.

"It was cold there - the crowd might have been frozen. We'll get them going at Anfield," Burgess told BBC Sport.

"They'll probably bring out the You'll Never Walk Alone song. It's up to us and up to them to create an atmosphere."

Burgess and his twin brother George are in Wayne Bennett's 19-man squad for the second Test, with James Graham named captain after Wigan loose forward Sean O'Loughlin suffered a recurrence of a calf injury during the first contest.

The final Test is at Elland Road next week, but the South Sydney Rabbitohs player wants his team-mates to get the job done on Sunday.

"We have to be wary about taking the foot off the pedal," Burgess continued. "In the back of our minds there's always game three, but we want to get away from those thoughts.

"We need to attack the game on Sunday, the same way we did in the first match."

That opening contest saw England absorb constant pressure from the Kiwis' talented attack, led by playmakers Shaun Johnson and Kodi Nikorima.

'Winning this series will be a big step up for us'

George Burgess, who is also at Rabbitohs, told BBC Sport that stopping Johnson and Nikorima is key to success for England.

"Those two are so light on their feet," he said. "They are elusive runners so we have to hold our defensive line - if you come out of the line and show them space they'll most likely cut through you."

Tom added: "We've looked at some video but have tried to keep the focus on us. If everyone is working for each other on Sunday the score will look after itself. If we focus on the performance, then hopefully we'll get the win."

World Cup finalists England are ranked third in the world behind the Kiwis and world champions Australia. Tom Burgess said winning the series would mark a significant step towards finally becoming world champions in 2021.

"We beat New Zealand in 2015, but that probably got swept under the rug," he said. "Winning this series will be a big step up for us, especially considering the Kiwis defeated Australia recently.

"I've got the World Cup in mind. It's a big goal for us that we want to keep building towards."

Tom Burgess in action during the first Test against New Zealand
Tom Burgess (right): "I've got the World Cup in mind. It's a big goal for us that we want to keep building towards."

Blair back in for New Zealand

Experienced prop Adam Blair is set to return for New Zealand after recovering from a minor knee injury that kept him out of last week's opener.

"Adam has got through training well this week to put himself back in the frame for what is a critical match for us," said head coach Michael Maguire.

The return of Blair - for what will be his 47th cap - in place of second rower Joseph Tapine is likely to be the visitors' only change, although Maguire gave little away, announcing his 19-man squad in alphabetical order.

England: J Lomax (St Helens); J McGillvary (Huddersfield), O Gildart (Wigan), J Connor (Hull), T Makinson (St Helens); G Williams (Wigan), S Tomkins (Wigan); C Hill (Warrington), J Hodgson (Canberra), J Graham (St George Illawarra, capt), E Whitehead (Canberra), J Bateman (Wigan), L Thompson (St Helens).

Interchange: D Clark (Warrington), T Burgess (South Sydney), G Burgess (South Sydney), A Milner (Castleford).

New Zealand (probable): D Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith, capt); K Maumalo (NZ Warriors), E Marsters (Wests Tigers), J Manu (Sydney Roosters), J Rapana (Canberra); S Johnson (NZ Warriors), K Nikorima (Brisbane); J Bromwich (Melbourne), B Smith (Melbourne), J Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), K Proctor (Gold Coast), Isaac Liu (Sydney Roosters), J Fisher-Harris (Penrith).

Interchange: K Bromwich (Melbourne), L Ah Mau (St George Illawarra), M Taupau (Manly), A Blair (NZ Warriors).

Referee: G Sutton (Australia).


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