Rugby League World Cup semi-final: England v New Zealand preview
Last Updated: 23/11/13 3:34pm
England are aiming to reach their first Rugby League World Cup final since 1995 when they meet New Zealand at Wembley in Saturday's semi-final double-header.
Australia and New Zealand have contested the last two finals, winning one apiece. The Kangaroos came out on top at Old Trafford in 2000 before the Kiwis exacted revenge in Brisbane five years ago.
England suffered a 16-8 loss at Wembley in '95 despite the Kangaroos leaving out the big names who had signed for NRL clubs and Steve McNamara's men are the underdogs in Saturday's contest.
While England have been far from their best so far in the tournament, including suffering a 28-20 loss to Australia to open their campaign, New Zealand have been ruthless in all four of their victories.
England were patchy in last weekend's 34-6 triumph over Wigan while Stephen Kearney's Kiwis did what was needed to brush aside Scotland 40-4 at Headingley.
McNamara has made three changes to his starting line-up with Gareth Widdop, James Roby and Brett Ferres coming in, Chris Hill and Carl Ablett dropping to the bench and Rangi Chase and Michael McIlorum missing out completely.
Widdop had been tipped to star in the tournament but has played just 54 minutes.
The Halifax-born start starts alongside captain Kevin Sinfield in the halves, with Rob Burrow another option to be used off the bench.
NRL star Sam Burgess will be expected to lead the line for England while the Kiwis have a superstar of their own in the shape of Sonny Bill Williams, who is regarded as one of the world's best rugby players.
New Zealand have been forced into one change with Jason Nightingale drafted in on the winger after Manu Vatuvei was ruled out of the semi-final with a knee injury.
St George Illawarra man Nightingale has featured once for the Kiwis in the tournament so far, playing in their victory over France after Vatuvei was rested for the contest.
England: S Tomkins (Wigan); J Charnley (Wigan), K Watkins (Leeds), L Cudjoe (Huddersfield), R Hall (Leeds); G Widdop (Melbourne), K Sinfield (Leeds, capt); S Burgess (South Sydney), J Roby (St Helens), J Graham (St Helens), B Ferres (Huddersfield), B Westwood (Warrington), S O'Loughlin (Wigan).
Subs: R Burrow (Leeds), G Burgess (South Sydney), C Hill (Warrington), C Ablett (Leeds).
New Zealand: K Locke (NZ Warriors); R Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters), D Whare (Penrith), B Goodwin (South Sydney), J Nightingale (St George Illawarra); K Foran (Manly), S Johnson (NZ Warriors); J Waerea Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), I Luke (South Sydney), J Bromwich (Melbourne), A Glenn (Brisbane), S B Williams (Sydney Roosters), S Mannering (NZ Warriors, capt).
Subs: E Taylor (NZ Warriors), S Kasiano (Canterbury Bulldogs), B Matulino (NZ Warriors), F-P Nu'uausala (Sydney Roosters).
Referee: B Cummins (Australia).
2013 WC: England v New Zealand
Kevin Sinfield says England were more deserving of a place in the World Cup final after a last-gasp loss to New Zealand.
The best of the action in pictures as England were denied a place in the Rugby League World Cup final by New Zealand.
Coach Steve McNamara refused to blame individuals after England's agonising World Cup semi-final defeat to New Zealand.
- NZ deny England late on
- Chase allowed to leave camp
- Burgess: Kiwis not invincible
- Vatuvei ruled out for Kiwis
- England turn to Widdop
- Nightingale ready for Kiwis
- Westwood up for Williams test
- Watkins eyes semi-final upset
- Unfinished business for Burrow
- Rivals relishing Wembley clash
- Charnley up for Kiwis battle
- McNamara believes in victory
- Ferres hoping not to miss out
- O'Loughlin: Wembley can help
- Charnley targets cup start