The Kiwis found some redemption in Leeds.

It was a dead rubber at Elland road, but the New Zealand team have at least kept hopes alive for the future.

That's the most important aspect of Monday's impressive 34-0 win over England.

With the series gone, they needed to deliver a statement performance, and boy, o boy did they.


It means the Kiwis can leave the northern hemisphere with their heads held a little higher, and some pride restored.

There will still be regrets – plenty of them – over how they managed to lose a lose an eminently winnable series, by blowing promising positions in each of the first two tests.

They will reflect on how things could have been different, if Joseph Manu reeled in his intercept opportunity last week with the Kiwis ahead 14-6 in the 65th minute, or if George Burgess had received appropriate on-field punishment for his awful eye gouge on Dallin Watene-Zelezniak a few minutes earlier.

England were marginally the better team across the first two tests, but the Kiwis were far from their best.

But at least they responded on Monday, and grabbed their first win over the Lions since 2016.

Their sparkling attack – scoring six tries against a tier one nation is a rarity - will catch the attention but this was a victory built on defence, especially in the first half as the home side monopolised possession and territory.

Esan Marsters of New Zealand offloads as Oliver Gildart of England. Photo / Getty
Esan Marsters of New Zealand offloads as Oliver Gildart of England. Photo / Getty

After being uncertain and hesitant at Hull and Anfield, the Kiwis were uncompromising on Monday. Their line speed was excellent, and their commitment and contact flowed from there.

The right edge – which had been savaged last week – was much more solid, though England were also out of step and missed the calming influence of the injured Sam Tomkins.

Captain Watene-Zelezniak came up with two more try saving tackles – how many has he managed this series? – while Shaun Johnson's cover tackle on a flying Johnny Lomax demonstrated his commitment.

Jesse Bromwich anchored a convincing forward effort, as the Kiwis pack, for the first time this series, dominated their opposites. His offloading game – sometimes in tandem with his brother Kenny– was in full flow and that, together with his deceptive footwork reminded why he has been rated as the most damaging prop in the sport.

Young hooker Brandon Smith also stood out, particularly in the first half, with his vision and ability to back up his runners while Issac Liu finished off a breakout year with his best display of the series.

Johnson rediscovered his mojo, off the back of a great platform laid by his forwards, especially with his kicking game, forcing numerous repeat sets, while halves partner Kodi Nikorima had probably his best performance in the black and white V.

The Broncos' halfback was everywhere, and when the game was tight in the first half he was the dominant player on the field, creating the Kiwis' second try, then starting and finishing their third just before halftime, which was a back breaker for England.

The youngsters in the backline also impressed.

Joseph Manu had his best 40 minutes of the series in the second half, while Ken Maumalo showed another side to his power game with some nifty sidesteps, as well as a prodigious leap to score his second try.

Esan Marsters was solid, though Michael Maguire will be working on his attacking game at the Tigers after two no-look passes were poorly delivered.

At least now the Kiwis have something of a platform to build on, ahead of the blockbuster clash with Tonga next June.