FORMER York Knights loanee Mikey Lewis was left emotional after scoring against Tonga on his England Test debut yesterday, admitting he "loved every second."

The sides faced off in the first of three Tests at St Helens' Totally Wicked Stadium, with tries from Warrington Wolves centre Toby King, Lewis, and Catalans Dragons winger Tom Johnstone helping England to a 22-18 victory.

Player of the Match Lewis was handed his first England cap by head coach Shaun Wane in place of the suspended George Williams, whilst St Helens full-back Jack Welsby became England's youngest captain at the age of just 22.

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Wane's side struck first in Merseyside as the impressive Lewis played in King to open the scoring, but they were soon pegged back as Wests Tigers' Starford To'a capitalised on a penalty for a ball steal to cross into the right corner.

Veteran Tyson Frizell fired Tonga in front with 25 minutes played after meeting Tui Lolohea's neat kick but Lewis ensured that the scores would be tied at 12 apiece at the interval with a superb individual effort that saw him weave through the visiting defence to cross the whitewash.

England crucially nudged themselves back in front 55 minutes into the contest after Welsby floated a stunning pass over the heads of three Tongan defenders to give Johnstone a walk-in, before the Catalans star intercepted a loose pass to extend his side's lead to 10.

Tolutau Koula's late try set up a tense final two minutes for England, but they held on to take a 1-0 lead into the next Test at Huddersfield's John Smith's Stadium on Saturday.

Half-back Lewis scored four tries and one goal in six appearances for the Knights across two loan spells from Hull KR in 2021, including playing in their 41-34 defeat to Featherstone Rovers in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final at Wembley.

But despite having reached both the Betfred Challenge Cup Final and Betfred Super League Play-off Semi Final with Hull KR, he found it hard to believe that he had been in the position to make such an impressive Test debut.

"Words can't describe how I feel at the moment. I loved every second of that," an emotional Lewis told the BBC's Tanya Arnold on the final whistle.

"The whole week, the whole build-up of it when I got told that I was going to make my debut - I haven't let it go by and I've enjoyed every moment.

"I've really enjoyed it, those 80 minutes out there.

"It was massive for me and my family, from where I've come from to making my Test debut.

"If you'd have said to me at the beginning of the year that I was going to make my England debut, I'd have just laughed at you.

"This is how much it means to me and my family. We'll enjoy this now.

"We'll look back, watch the video and be ready to go again next week."

Tonga's team included heaps of NRL talent, with England at times finding it hard to make inroads against a pack with a noticeable size difference.

But as their visitors began to tire, they took advantage, with Lewis enthusing: "I'm immensely proud of the win today.

"The boys, they dug in. That Tongan team have some unreal players that have real experience, so to get that win today is massive for us."