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Four Nations report: England 16-17 New Zealand

England couldn't prevent New Zealand's narrow win. Credit: PA

New Zealand half-back Shaun Johnson was again the scourge of England as they fell agonisingly short in their Ladbrokes Four Nations opener in Huddersfield.

The man who broke English hearts in the 2013 World Cup semi-final returned to haunt them in his first game back in the country by orchestrating a 17-16 victory for New Zealand.

Johnson ran the show throughout and came up with the crucial scores, a 70-metre interception try and the winning drop goal, to put the Kiwis in sight of the Anfield final and leave England with the onerous task of beating Australia to give themselves a chance of glory.

Winger Jordan Rapana scored two of New Zealand's three tries on only his second appearance to help David Kidwell celebrate his first victory as head coach.

The narrow defeat spoiled the homecoming of new England skipper Sam Burgess, who produced a typically forceful display in a thrilling clash at a sold out John Smith's Stadium, which was marred only in the late stages when he twice over-played in his side's desperate, frantic bid to snatch the spoils.


England name Sam Burgess as new captain

Sam Burgess is the new captain. Credit: PA

Sam Burgess has been appointed as the new captain of England, head coach Wayne Bennett has announced.

The announcement was made by new England head coach Wayne Bennett at a press conference at the team's hotel in London.

The 27-year-old South Sydney forward has been chosen, ahead of former St Helens prop James Graham, as the successor to Wigan loose forward Sean O'Loughlin, who was last week ruled out of the Ladbrokes Four Nations Series through injury.

"Sam will be our captain," Bennett said. "He leads from the front."


Sinfield to call time on glittering 20-year rugby career

Kevin Sinfield has announced that he will retire from all forms of rugby at the end of the current rugby union season in May.

The former Leeds and England rugby league captain, who turns 36 in September, switched codes with the Rhinos' sister club Yorkshire Carnegie last November and had another 12 months left on his contract.

However, Sinfield announced at a press conference at Headingley on Wednesday his intention to hang up his boots after receiving several job offers.

Sinfield is hanging up his boots. Credit: PA

Sinfield said: "I have been privileged and deeply honoured to have enjoyed a 20-year career as a professional rugby player and to retire on my own terms rather than through injury is something I feel lucky to be able to do.

"I have always said that some day I will need to get a proper job and that day has now come.

"A number of opportunities have become available to me for life after rugby and I need to make the right decision for me and my family.

"However, before then we have got hopefully four massive games ahead of us, starting this Sunday against a very good Doncaster side at Headingley Carnegie."

In his glittering 19-season professional career in rugby league, Sinfield led Leeds to seven Grand Final victories, back-to-back Challenge Cup triumphs and three World Club Challenge successes.

He was awarded an MBE in the 2014 Queens' Birthday Honours and was runner-up to Andy Murray in the BBC Sports Personality Awards last December.

Anfield lined up to host 2016 Four Nations final

Anfield is being lined up to host the final of the 2016 Four Nations Series.

The Rugby Football League says dates and venues are still being finalised but a spokesman confirmed to Press Association Sport that the home of Liverpool FC is in the reckoning.

The RFL are keen to try out new venues. Credit: PA

"We can confirm Anfield is one of the venues being considered for the Four Nations Series but nothing has been finalised," the spokesman said.

The RFL are keen to try out new venues after being encouraged by the crowd of 44,393 at London's Olympic Stadium for last November's Test match between England and Australia, although Anfield has staged rugby league in the past.

It was the venue for the World Club Challenge in 1991 when a crowd of 20,152 turned out for a Tuesday night game between Wigan and Penrith while St Helens were pleased with an attendance of 12,329 for a league game against Castleford in 1997.

It is thought Anfield could host the Four Nations final on Saturday, November 19.

Coventry's Ricoh Arena is expected to host a double header, featuring England against Scotland and Australia against New Zealand, while England are set to return to the Olympic Stadium for the big clash with the Kangaroos.

Huddersfield, Hull KR and Workington are other venues thought to be under consideration, with organisers dropping their initial plans to take a game to Scotland.

Burgess released from hospital and cleared of injury

Burgess was cleared of any serious injury. Credit: PA

England forward Sam Burgess has been released from hospital after being cleared of serious injury.

The 27-year-old dual-code international spent two nights in St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney after hurting his neck during South Sydney's NRL clash with St George Illawarra at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.

The Rabbitohs say MRI and CT scans have shown there is no damage to the vertebrae or spinal cord and Burgess, who was allowed home on Tuesday afternoon, is expected to make a full recovery.

The club say they will continue to monitor the former Bradford prop for any muscle or neurological issues and no time frame has yet been set for his return, but he will sit out the Good Friday game against Canterbury Bulldogs.

Sam Burgess in hospital with neck injury

Sam Burgess. Credit: PA

England rugby league star Sam Burgess is undergoing hospital scans after suffering a neck injury whilst playing for his club in Australia.

The 27-year-old was involved in an accidental clash of heads with another Englishman, former Warrington prop Mike Cooper, in the 58th minute of South Sydney's round three NRL clash with St George Illawarra.

Burgess, who was playing only his third game back following his nine-month stint in rugby union with Bath and England, lowered his head as he ran into a wall of Dragons defenders and, upon impact, immediately fell to the ground.

Burgess lay prone on the turf for several minutes as he was treated by medical personnel before being carried off on a stretcher and rushed to the nearby St Vincent's Hospital.

The Rabbitohs were trailing 8-6 at the time and no more points were scored following the incident.

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