Romain Navarrete is hoping to hold onto his place in Shaun Wane’s squad – so he can impress his parents.
The 22-year-old off-season signing from Catalans Dragons made his competitive Warriors debut last week in the 38-16 hammering of Warrington, coming off the bench on the hour mark.
They speak too fast and the accents are different but I’m learning after listening every dayRomain Navarrete
He is eyeing another chance to impress Wane in this Sunday’s clash with Huddersfield Giants, and hopes to land a place in the squad to face Hull FC a week later when his family are over from France.
“My parents come over next weekend when we play against Hull FC, so I hope I can play in front of my family in a tough game,” said the prop.
Navarrete, who made his international debut for France last October, revealed his call-up to the squad last week came as a shock, and he couldn’t wait to let his family know so they could follow the televised action.
“It was a big surprise,” he said. “All the week he (Wane) told me nothing. I thought I wasn’t playing and when he told me, I was very happy.”
“It was the day before when we did the captain’s run. He called me into his office.
“We were in a meeting so I couldn’t call them straight away but I called my mum and dad and they were very proud for me. I was straight on the phone as soon as the meeting was over.
“All my family could watch the game.”
Following his first Super League outing at his new club, Navarrete took the opportunity to see his family in France last weekend when Wane granted the players a long weekend thanks to a longer turnaround between games.
“I went to see my family and enjoy some time,” he explained.
“I was happy for the days to go and see them.
“I’m from a little village about 10-15 minutes away from Perpignan, and it’s very warm.”
But the former Catalans Dragons player is adjusting to life in his new home well, and is even getting to grips with his teammates’ Wiganese as he settles.
“They speak too fast and the accents are different but I’m learning after listening every day,” he smiled.
Living close to St Helens half-back and friend Theo Fages and working alongside Warriors’ full-back Morgan Escare also means he has plenty of familiar faces in the North West to talk to.
“I have some French friends around here and I like my life here,” he said. “Normally one time a week or every two weeks we find time for dinner and to speak together.
“I see Theo every day. He’s like my best friend, I know him from five or six years ago from playing with him in France.
“I’ve only known Morgan for a year so he is a good friend too.”
Navarrete’s English is better than his teammate’s, but he revealed Escare is getting to grips with the language.
But like many observers, he is in agreement that Escare’s grasp of his new role at Wigan has been impressive.
“He’s started to understand. His wife has good English so she helps him,” he said.
“I’m very impressed with Morgan at the start of the season. He’s showing what he can do.”
And on his own game, Navarrete is already looking at ways to improve so he can cement his place in the team to ensure he will be on the pitch when his parents come to visit Wigan next weekend.
Assessing his performance against Warrington, he said: “I need to work on my carries of the ball.”