SAINTS prop Alex Walmsley is relishing donning the Great Britain jersey - the cherry on the top of a remarkable comeback season.

The Grand Final winning prop finished the domestic campaign with a storming performance at Old Trafford.

But now he gets the opportunity to take that form into the test arena, and he has been named on the bench for Saturday’s clash with a robust Tonga XIII.

It crowns a storming 2019 in which the front rower had bounced back from a potentially career ending broken neck to surpass his pre-injury performances.

Now he has another challenge - one he is relishing.

He said: “I am really enjoying it in New Zealand and all the boys are in good spirit ahead of what is going to be a tough game.

“It has been a fantastic year from a personal point of view ­— and from a club one too.

“But to be part of a GB Lions tour and around so many exciting, talented players in such a good squad - I find myself pinching myself to have been given this opportunity.

“I am really looking forward to putting the jersey on and being made a Lion.

It is such a prestigious honour - and that has not happened for a long time and who knows when it will happen again.

“Hopefully I can make the most of it.”

Walmsley was part of the England World Cup squad that played Down Under in 2017 - but any hopes of consolidating his international career were completely derailed when he broke a bone in his neck at Warrington early on in the 2018 season.

Out for the whole of that season, missing out on England’s three-match test series win over New Zealand, Walmsley was nevertheless happy to see his Saints team mate Luke Thompson force his way into a crowded front row field and excel.

Thompson will start at prop on Saturday, with Lachlan Coote at full back with Jonny Lomax joining Walmsley on the bench.

Walmsley was delighted to see Thompson’s progression into one of the world’s best props.

But he is delighted that he has displayed the qualities on and off the field to force his way back into Wayne Bennett’s thoughts for the first Great Britain line-up since 2007.

“2018 was obviously a tough year for me and Wayne (Bennett) has obviously been building this squad since 2016,” he said.

“You have not just got to be a good player, but he is big on you having to be right for this squad - off the field as well as on it, on being a good person.

“We have created such a good camp here and it has made it like a club from home.