Oliver Gildart believes the heat is on New Zealand in today’s Test at Anfield.
The England centre scored the match-winning try in last weekend’s 18-16 victory, meaning Michael Maguire’s Kiwis must win in Liverpool to keep alive their hopes of winning the three-match series.
“I feel like the pressure is on them now,” said Wigan’s Gildart. “We have gone 1-0 up and it’s massive, to get that first win.
“We don’t feel we played as well as we could have done.
“We can be better, but they’ll be thinking the same thing, and hopefully we have the edge and have the series wrapped up this week.”
Gildart admits he could not have scripted his England debut much better, marking the occasion with a stunning match-winning try.
And he revealed how Jermaine McGillvary, the Huddersfield winger who has so frequently impressed on the national stage, helped settle his nerves before they ran out.
“I really enjoyed playing alongside Jermaine, he’s a great bloke, he’s freakishly strong and he’s one of the leaders in the team,” said Gildart, who at 22 is eight years McGillvary’s junior.
“He helped me out beforehand. He took me aside and said: ‘The opposition is better but I’ve played against you over the years, you’re a good player, you’re here for a reason – back yourself’. And that’s what I tried to do.”
A Test between Australia and New Zealand ago two years ago attracted 40,000-plus but RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer has revealed he hopes for crowd of around 25,000 – which would mean Liverpool FC’s home ground would be less than half-full.
Sam Tomkins is hoping fans turn out in force to see England’s first match at the Reds’ home stadium.
“We need the fans to get behind us,” said Tomkins.
“When it’s the internationals, forget about what club you support, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got none or five players from your club in. It doesn’t matter who you play for between February and October, we’re England, we’re one team and if you’re proud of England, like we are, support us.”
Tickets are on sale from the Anfield ticket office.