St Helens and England hooker James Roby has likened his tandem role with Josh Hodgson like his previous one with the now Saints coach Keiron Cunningham.
Roby usually plays 80 minutes for the Saints on a regular basis, but has played half of that for the national team this year, sharing the hooking role with Hodgson.
And he says it’s a role that is markedly different to his club one as it allows him to be fresher.
“I adapt my game if I’m going to end up doing that,” he said.
“I’m used to playing 80 minutes and you have to manage yourself through that. You can’t burn yourself out in the first ten minutes by going all out.
“I knew I’d come on midway through the first half and do 40 minutes, so it’s halved the time and I know I can go all out.
“I try and provide that bit of extra spark, that bit more energy and a bit more buzz. I try to do as much off the ball as I can, as it’s different to what I do for Saints and I’d like to think I looked that bit fresher and quicker around the ruck.”
Roby says that it’s a job that keeps him fitter for longer, and compared it to his early years as a Saints player.
“It’s the same as when I came through alongside Keiron Cunningham,” he said.
“I feel good for it and the body feels a lot better for it.”
Roby also feels this year is a perfect opportunity for England to secure a big break internationally with England on his return to the side.
“I remember that World Cup semi-final being a close game and I thought we’d done enough, but they scored in the final moment of the game.
“That’s a reminder that you have to play for 80 minutes. It was disappointing but on the whole we played well as a team and took confidence from that.
“Last year we were very close against the Aussies and Kiwis and there’s that steady progression. Hopefully we can take it one step further and I don’t see how we can’t. If we put it together we can make that breakthrough on the international scene.”