WARRINGTON Wolves pair Jack Hughes and Joe Philbin have already faced a war cry this week – before any Great Britain matches have even been played on the 2019 tour in New Zealand.

They were joined by Castleford Tigers half-back Jake Trueman in paying a visit to Fairfield Intermediate School in Hamilton, the city in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island where Great Britain will open their tour with a Test match against a Tonga Invitational XIII.

And as the trio walked into the school building they were welcomed by a mighty roar being made by a couple of dozen children performing the Haka.

Then after more displays and the nose-to-nose, forehead-to-forehead greeting between players and students that is part of the culture in that area, the Great Britain Lions put the year seven and eight youngsters through their paces on the training field.

“The welcome was really special,” said Hughes, who has been named 19th man for the first meeting with the Tongans since the narrow win in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup semi-final.

“It gave me a bit of goose bumps to see how meaningful and special it is to them as well as the grown ups.”

Philbin added: “You can see why the New Zealand Haka is so impressive when you see it on TV because we’ve got 11-year-old kids doing it and trying to intimidate us as soon as we walked in there.

“It was really impressive. We did a few skills with them and tried to get the ball moving.

“Then I think they were trying to show us what they could do and knocked a few grubbers in as well.”