Sam Tomkins is rolling back the years with some match-winning performances for Catalans Dragons this season and his career will go full circle soon when he reunites with his good friend and mentor, new England coach Shaun Wane.
The 30-year-old full-back has been selected in Wane’s training squad which will meet up at Old Trafford on March 23rd, completing an extraordinary circle for Tomkins.
The last time he played for England was under then national coach Steve McNamara who is now his club coach in Perpignan. Tomkins’ club coach at that time was Wigan chief Wane.
“It’s a small world,” Sam told League Express, “It’s funny how things work out but I can’t wait to work again with Shaun, he’s a great coach and I’ve got massive respect for him.
“For Shaun to be appointed as England coach is exciting for everybody involved. I think he’ll have a huge impact on the full set-up, I’ve known him a long time and I know Shaun’s way. There will be no compromises made by himself and he’ll expect the same from everyone around him.
“When Shaun left Wigan and went to Scotland rugby union I was always hopeful that he would find his way back into League somewhere because he was a little bit wasted going to union. I didn’t know in what capacity he would be back but this is the perfect job for him.
“It will be brilliant to link back up with him. It doesn’t seem two minutes since I was playing for him but let’s not forget, it’s only March and the squad is at its very early stages and as players we need to improve from game to game for our clubs.
“I’m sure there will be some players in there now who won’t be later this year and others who will be added to the group as the year progresses. It’s really nice to be included at this stage but there’s a lot of hard work between now and October if I want to play in an England jersey.
“It’s a huge opportunity. Testing yourself against the Australians is something you’d never get sick of doing. I’ve been very lucky to play a lot of international rugby and meet them a few times but I’ve never been in a winning side against Australia.
“To have three cracks at them at the end of the year would be brilliant so I know I’ve got to knuckle down and improve and get the best out of myself.”
Tomkins has been receiving rave reviews for some match-winning performances for Catalans this season but he said Saturday night’s victory over Salford Red Devils was one to forget for him.
A couple of mistakes in an otherwise typically impressive display by the full-back took the gloss off an important win for the Dragons, Tomkins adding: “It was definitely not my best performance but it was more important that we got the win.
“We’ve got a great set of fans here who make a lot of noise for us so I think it’s only right that we put the effort in. Our effort wasn’t in question today I just think we played a bit dumb at times.”