England starlet Mikey Lewis was visibly emotional post-match following his try-scoring senior international debut in the test series opener against Tonga, holding back the tears as he detailed how proud he was to represent his country.
The half-back – who turned 22 in July – took his chance with both hands, leading the charge with a huge break for Shaun Wane’s side’s opening try this afternoon – scored by Toby King – before crossing for one of his own.
Lewis has already made 71 appearances for hometown club Hull KR having come through their academy. One of the key figures in Willie Peters’ side this term, he has helped guide the Robins to the Super League play-off semi-finals as well as the Challenge Cup final.
But having been named the Man of the Match by the BBC, something we here at Love Rugby League were in agreement with, the youngster’s post-match interview with Tanya Arnold went some way in showing just what it meant to him to pull on the England shirt.
Emotional Mikey Lewis reflects on senior England debut: ‘I loved every second’
The KR ace had picked up a cap for England Knights before today, playing against France B in 2022. He also played for the Knights against Jamaica, though that wasn’t an official test.
Following his senior bow today as Wane’s men ran out 22-18 winners, Lewis said: “Words can’t describe how I feel at the moment, I loved every second of that.
“The whole week, the whole build-up of it, when I got told I was going to make my debut, I haven’t let it go by and I’ve enjoyed every moment. I really enjoyed the 80 minutes out there.
“It’s massive for me and my family. From where I’ve come from to making my England debut… if you 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 and we’ll look back, watch the videos then be ready to go again come next week.”
England starlet relishing chance on international stage: ‘Immensely proud’
In the absence of suspended skipper George Williams, Lewis debuted in the halves alongside Leeds Rhinos youngster Harry Newman.
The Hull-born ace took the game to a huge Tongan pack right from the off, unlucky not to get the game’s first try having been brought down inches away from the line.
He knew it would be a challenge against Kristian Woolf’s side, and so it proved, but is already looking forward to next Saturday’s clash with the same opponents at Huddersfield Giants’ John Smith’s Stadium.
Lewis added: “It’s a big step up, but I’ve come a long way this year and I feel like I was ready for that moment. I’m just immensely proud of the win today, the boys really dug in.
“That Tongan team, they’ve got some unreal players that are really experienced, and to get the win today is massive for us. I just back my instinct.
“All that Shaun and the coaching team wanted me to do was run at them when they were tired, I can be better on that. I’ll keep learning and keep watching the videos, there were a couple of defensive errors as well that I need to fix up, but I’ll go back next week and work on them to make sure that I’m better.”