England unchanged for crunch clash

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Published: Tuesday 4th November 2014 by The News Editor

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England coach Steve McNamara has kept faith with the team that lost to Australia for Saturday’s must-win Four Nations clash with New Zealand in Dunedin.

McNamara made two changes for the 16-12 defeat to the Kangaroos after initially naming the same team that beat Samoa in their opening game, drafting in captain Sean O’Loughlin after he completed his recovery from a leg injury and centre Dan Sarginson in a tactical swap for Michael Shenton.

O’Loughlin came through his comeback match unscathed and was cleared to play on Saturday after officials decided he had no case to answer after being placed on report for an alleged trip on Australia skipper Cameron Smith.

Sarginson keeps his place after impressing on his Test debut.

England need to beat the Kiwis by 10 points to leapfrog them into top spot on the ladder and guarantee a place in the November 15 final in Wellington.

If England win by fewer than nine points, they could be overhauled by Australia, who meet Samoa in the last round-robin game on Sunday.

Super League’s top referee Phil Bentham will be in charge of Saturday’s game after getting the nod ahead of Australian Gerard Sutton.

Organisers caused a stir by ignoring neutrality with the appointment of Sutton for the Australia-England game and have maintained that policy with the selection of Bentham, who refereed the Grand Final at Old Trafford as well as the Australia-New Zealand game in Brisbane.

Sutton will take charge of his third match in as many weeks after being appointed for Australia’s game against Samoa on Sunday and looks to be in pole position to referee the decider in Wellington, regardless of the finalists.

New Zealand’s top referee Henry Perenara will be the video referee in Dunedin, with England’s Ian Smith taking on the role for Sunday’s game in Wollongong.

Published: Tuesday 4th November 2014 by The News Editor

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