Sam Tomkins could make historic England series his swansong

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Sam Tomkins Shaun Wane Credit: Alamy
Sam Tomkins Shaun Wane Credit: Alamy

Retiring Super League legend Sam Tomkins could make the historic test series between England and Tonga his swansong at the end of the year.

Tomkins, 34, announced in March that he will be hanging up his boots at the end of the season after a stellar career where he was crowned Man of Steel twice.

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The current Catalans full-back won three Super League titles with Wigan and has been named in the Super League Dream Teram six times.

He has been struggling with a knee injury that has limited him to just four appearances for the Dragons this season.

That ruled him out of contention for England’s mid-season test against France, the first international since the World Cup semi-final defeat to Samoa which was Tomkins’ last as captain.

George Williams has succeeded his former club team-mate as skipper, and St Helens’ Jack Welsby looks the most likely candidate to inherit the number one jersey, and he played the full 80 minutes against France.

When asked about Tomkins’ future, England coach Shaun Wane said: “Still open. I spoke to him recently but the international didn’t get brought up. It was all about him talking to George (ahead of the international).

“He’s experienced enough, he’ll tell me what he needs to tell me and he’ll decide when he needs to but I’m obviously very happy with who I’ve got at the minute.”

And it is understood that Tomkins will always make himself available for international selection, as long as his knee holds up.

Whether Wane will turn to him for the autumn series against Tonga, with the focus building towards the 2025 World Cup, remains to be seen.

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Tomkins encore after a fine career

Tomkins has made 29 appearances for England since making his debut in 2009, when he starred at half-back against Wales, Australia (twice) and New Zealand at the end of his breakthrough year in Super League.

Despite multiple links with a code switch to rugby union, including a guest appearance for the Barbarians, a world record fee lured him to the NRL and New Zealand Warriors for the 2014 campaign.

He returned to the northern hemisphere with Wigan but has spent the past five seasons in France with Catalans, where he will remain after hanging up his boots.

Upon his retirement announcement, Tomkins said: “Unfortunately, this is going to be my last season on the field.

“I can’t do it much longer. This year is going to be a push and I know I can get out there and perform this year.

“In my head, I still love the game. I’m still passionate about the game and I want to play. The rest of my body is saying continue, but unfortunately I’ve got that many issues in my knee now, that I can’t go much longer.”

Tomkins started in the Dragons’ 16-14 defeat to Salford in the last round of Super League fixtures, and has been named in their squad for the home game with St Helens on Friday night.

England take on Tonga in a three-test series in October and November, starting with a game at the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens on October 22. The series then goes to the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield on October 28 before culminating at Headingley in Leeds on November 4.

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