Anyone got any news on Gareth. I noticed he did not make the England squad this morning v NZ. Hope it’s nothing serious, the last thing we want is to gain Blair and then lose Ellis through a back injury.
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ELLIS HOPES TO BE FIT FOR FOUR NATIONS FINAL
By Wayne Cousins
Wests Tigers lock Chris Heighington will be hoping his club and England team-mate Gareth Ellis will overcome a back injury in time for the Four Nations final against Australia next Sunday.
Ellis missed England’s 28-6 win over New Zealand at KC Stadium this morning after suffering the injury in the loss to Australia the previous weekend. Should he play, he will line up against Wests Tigers team-mates Keith Galloway and Chris Lawrence.
“I hope to be fit. If I can get through the early part of the week and train with the boys then hopefully I will stand a good chance of playing,’’ Ellis said. Heighington had a solid game in the win over New Zealand with the English forwards laying the foundation for their exciting backs led by brilliant full-back Sam Tomkins to do their magic. It was the first time Heighington had played against Wests Tigers team-mate in Kiwis captain Benji Marshall at an international level. He also played against his new Wests Tigers team-mate Adam Blair for the first time at rep level.
The match got off to a fiery start after Marshall pushed and shove former Wests Tigers and Kiwi team-mate in England half-back Rangi Chase. The Kiwis were disallowed a try in the 3rd minute when a bomb by Marshall saw the ball bounce off the back of an England player resulting in five-eighth Kieran Foran scoring only for the video referee to determine a few of his team-mates were offside. New Zealand second-rower Jeremy Smith was placed on report for dropping an elbow into the face of full-back Sam Tomkins.
The Kiwis then lost Warriors full-back Kevin Locke with a shoulder injury in the 12th minute before he returned just before half-time.
England opened the scoring in the 27th minute through winger Tom Briscoe despite the final pass travelling forward. Five-eighth Kevin Sinfield converted the try from the sideline for a 6-0 lead.
New Zealand interchange player Isaac Luke was placed on report in the 39th minute for twisting the right leg of Chase after he was tackled. Sinfield converted the penalty goal from 35 metres out for an 8-0 lead at half-time.
England went to 12-0 lead when a crossfield kick by Sinfield was defused by centre Jack Reed before winger Ryan Hall used strength and skill to dive over in the corner. Sinfield converted from the sideline for a 14-0 lead after 44 minutes. Locke left the field again with the right shoulder injury in the 44th minute before New Zealand winger Jason Nightingale dived over in the corner after the ball was spread right. Marshall converted the try to leave the Kiwis trailing 14-6 after 60 minutes.
Sinfield extended England’s lead to 16-6 after Marshall was penalised for a high tackle on Tomkins in the 65th minute. England secured their place in the Four Nations final in the 71st minute when prop James Graham slid over the line. Sinfield converted the try for a 22-6 lead. Tomkins then backed up inside after good work by Graham to score under the posts. Sinfield converted the try for the 28-6 lead in the 77th minute to make it six from six.
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