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“We knew it was going to be tough and we knew we were going to have to stick together” – Mikolaj Oledzki reacts to his first official England cap

He may have been born in Poland, but Mikolaj Oledzki is the future of the England pack.

The 23-year-old prop has come of age in the last two seasons. After being integral to Leeds’ Challenge Cup success in 2020, he was outstanding in 2021 and, if not for a few injuries in the second half of the season, he could’ve claimed a spot in the Super League Dream Team.

On the back of the last two years, the powerful yet dynamic forward has unsurprisingly been called up to the England squad. After featuring off the bench against the Combined Nations All Stars, he claimed a first official cap when he came on as a substitute against France this afternoon.

He didn’t look out of place and by the time the World Cup rolls around he’ll have developed even more – a frightening prospect considering his already definite class.

After the game, it was clear just how much his first cap meant to him as he looked back on the performance: “It’s my first test match, first cap. I’ve loved every single minute of it. It got a bit tough in some parts of the game but that’s test rugby and there’s going to be tough periods but I thought we all dug deep.

“It was awesome to get out there.”

For a big man, he also knows the game really well and he offered some interesting insight into how England approached the match: “I think we were best when we went direct. We’ve got a strong pack so we’re best when we work forward and play off the back of that.”

He also was keen to make it clear just how much of a challenge the French posed the English. On the back of Catalans’ and Toulouse’s success in 2021, the French boasted a 17 which should not been scoffed at and Oledzki knew it: “I think we knew it was going to be a tough game coming over here. Whether you play France or come to play Catalans it’s always a tough game.

“We knew it was going to be tough and we knew we were going to have to stick together and that it would have to be a complete team performance and I think we got that.”

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