England (15/2 World Cup 2013 Winner) coach Steve McNamara was pleased with the challenge presented by the Exiles in his side’s 18-10 win at Langtree Park.
The game began in torrential conditions in St Helens and the weather ruined any hopes of a free-flowing encounter featuring the cream of the Super League crop.
The Exiles, made up of the best overseas players in Super League, won the inaugural fixture last year but struggled without a number of stars on Saturday.
Early tries from Gareth Hock and Danny Tickle put England in control of the contest and they never looked back, with Sam Tomkins making the game safe in between scores from Francis Meli and Darryl Millard.
McNamara was happy to see his team take the lead in the two-match series and was unconcerned by the quality of rugby on show.
“It was a very tough game in difficult conditions,” he said. “We got the points we scored, which was pleasing. We did get loose in the first half, but in the second we had to show grit, determination and steel.
“I am pleased to get the win this time around. A win was important. We all understand that this concept is in the embryo phase, but it’s important to win.”
Meanwhile, New Zealand (4/1 World Cup 2013 Winner) international Thomas Leuluai could face a spell on the sidelines after he was stretchered off following an incident with Leeds winger Ryan Hall.