DESPITE the heat and altitude Saints skipper James Roby has hailed the experience of taking a test match to America

The long-serving England hooker was speaking after playing his part in the 36-18 win over New Zealand in Denver.

Although the match faced opposition, particularly in the NRL, Roby is delighted that the game went ahead.

Roby said: "It is invaluable to meet up and get together like we do, the camaraderie that we have got now has built up over a number of years. "There is a real togetherness in the group.

"To experience Denver and play a test match against New Zealand is the sort of tests we need if we are to improve.

"There was opposition to the game from the NRL at first but our lads stood firm and showed their support.

"The game rightly went ahead.

"We need these games and I am pretty sure New Zealand need them as well.

"I am just glad the game went ahead because it is a great experience for us as players, to come to America and play a test match is a special thing to be a part of.

"You have to appreciate that as a player."

The conditions were swelteringly hot, and the pace of the game took its toll.

But despite that the teams put on a good spectacle for the inquisitive 20,000 crowd.

"It was very tough to be honest and there were parts of that game where I was struggling with the heat and the altitude.

"It was very tough for all of us involved but I kept thinking to myself 'however bad I am feeling, they must be feeling worse', because they had some big lads.

"I am happy with the result and how I went in my 65 minutes. It is just another positive experience with England," Roby said.

Once again Roby packed down with former Blackbrook and Saints teammate James Graham - who was wearing a gold lion on his shirt to mark his 40th game.

Graham produced a typical warrior type performance, leading from the front.

Roby said: "Jammer does not know any different. He has been the same throughout - we have played alongside each other from being seven or eight.

"He will continue to lead from the front until the day he retires. He is a great bloke and 40 caps is a tremendous achievement."

Roby also had praise for one of his current clubmates - Tommy Makinson - who made his England debut in Denver.

"Tommy had a great game, he broke a few tackles and scored a great try and created another.

"The way he is playing he deserves his call-up and he proved that. He works very hard away from the game as well and any little extras that he does to improve he will be determined to do it.

"I am made up for Tommy - he really deserves that. It has been a few years coming but this has been his day.

"He has finally got that first cap and hopefully that is the first of many more to come," he said.