THREE Warrington Wolves players - and even the club's new head coach Sam Burgess - contributed to England taking a 1-0 lead in the historical first Test series with Tonga.

Toby King, Daryl Clark and Danny Walker all featured in the 22-18 success against opposition bristling with NRL talent at the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens.

Burgess, who arrived in the country on Thursday to take up his two-year contract with The Wire, provided an inspirational speech for the England group the day before the game.

As a legend of the England team, he would surely have been pleased with the commitment of the players and what was offered by two of the men he will be in charge of next season - Walker and King.

Clark and Walker have rotated in the number nine jersey for The Wire for the past five seasons, with one starting and the other adding impact off the bench, and on Sunday afternoon they did it to great effect for England ahead of becoming opponents next year.

St Helens-bound Clark got the starting call off England head coach Shaun Wane and his rugged defence against a huge Tonga pack was probably even more impressive than his distribution work and carries.

And then with around 20 minutes remaining he stepped aside for the younger Walker, a hometown Wire favourite, to make his Test series debut.

He livened things up with the ball around the middle as Tonga tired but also held his ground well as the Pacific Islanders came at England with a late rally, just as they did when the two nations last met in the semi-finals of Rugby League World Cup 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand.

England managed to hold on and will head to the John Smith's Stadium in Huddersfield next Saturday looking to clinch the series before the third game at Headingley in Leeds a week later.

King, a Grand Final winner with Wigan Warriors in a season-long loan from Warrington but will be back in primrose and blue colours next season, was also a solid performer in a tough, gritty affair that was all about heart and commitment rather than flashy brilliance.

The centre, showing his adaptability featuring on the left rather than his Wigan role on the right, did get England off to a great start with the opening try but if anybody was expecting that to be the start of a try fest they were rudely mistaken in this brutal contest.

In the end, Tom Johnstone’s second-half double sealed the success.

The Catalans Dragons winger pounced on a pair of chances – the first a sublime floated pass from captain Jack Welsby – as the hosts pulled clear in the second period.

An impressive debut from suspended George Williams' replacement, Hull KR stand-off Mikey Lewis, who made then scored one before the break, also contributed to an encouraging afternoon for Wane’s men.

It took Lewis just eight minutes of his international bow to make an impact as his superb break set up a move that swung left through Victor Radley for King to trot over on the left.

Wigan's Harry Smith kicked England six points clear but Tonga fought back after capitalising on a penalty for a ball steal, Saints’ Will Hopoate providing the decisive pass in a move that sent Wests Tigers’ Starford To’a in on the right edge.

Tonga went in front in the 25th minute when the second of their England-based starters, Huddersfield’s Tui Lolohea, delivered a neat kick for Tyson Frizell, who started his international career with Wales over a decade ago, to dart onto.

Isaiya Katoa’s first successful conversion lifted Tonga, backed by a boisterous band of fans behind the posts, into a four-point lead, before superb solo effort from Lewis, who wriggled through an imposing Tongan rearguard, levelled once again.

Smith curled over the conversion to nudge England in front and Katoa responded with a penalty in front of the posts just before the half-time hooter.

Welsby’s brilliance thrust England back in front after 55 minutes when he floated a perfectly-judged pass above the heads of three Tongan players and into space for Johnstone to run into and collect before crossing unopposed.

And a swift second from the Catalans man, when he pounced to intercept after a fumble by Will Penisini on the Tongan 40, left the fleet-footed Catalans star to race in between the posts from where Smith’s simplest conversion extended England’s lead to 22-12.

Tom Burgess was adjudged to have been held up over the line as England looked to finish the contest off but Tonga set up an anxious last two minutes when Tolutau Koula went over on the left, as if to serve as a timely reminder of two further bruising challenges to come.