FRANCIS Meli has spoken of how much he enjoyed the Exiles experience.
He was named on the wing in Brian McClennan’s overseas side and scored a vital try in the 16-12 win over England.
“It was good and I enjoyed it,” he said. “We had a job to do and we were happy to get the result. You play against all those players so to come together and pick each other’s brains – it was good and a real learning curve.
“We weren’t playing for a country but we were playing for ourselves, our mates and families. It was a great feeling to win it and the desire was there. It will be a good experience for England going forward and put them on a good course to play in the Four Nations.
“Of course five of the lads involved had to back up a couple of days later and I felt sorry for them. I had a knock so it was best to rest it but I felt guilty watching my mates play and I give them full credit for it. Now we have to do it all again.
“Tonight’s game is special for both towns and both teams. You can’t put a score on it, you just have to turn up and put on a good performance.
“Our last two games have been tight and we lost in the last 15 seconds the last time we played. We want to tie the series tonight.
“It was disappointing to lose in those final seconds but Royce is a smart coach and in the changing rooms afterwards he told us we needed to get over it quickly as we could as it could affect our momentum. We know we need to win as we want to stay with the top two.
“It doesn’t get any bigger than Wigan – it is a special atmosphere and is an occasion. It’s big for the fans and the players.”
Predominately a winger, Francis’ best form of late has been in the centres with Jamie Foster on his outside.
He’s scored nine tries this season too to add up to 103 tries in 156 games – a phenomenal strike rate.
“I am enjoying being in the centres,” he continued. “I am getting to play a bit more with the ball and make more tackles. It took me a few games to get used to it, but I am.
“It is working well with Jamie [Foster] too. We spend a lot of time together at training and we know where each other is going to be and our timing is getting better each game.”
Limited tickets are still on sale for the game. You can buy at the Saints Ticket Office in St Helens Town Centre, online here, or by calling 01744 455 050.