Tomkins provides England with fitness boost for first Test

England are set to be handed a major boost for the first Test match against New Zealand in Hull on Sunday after coach Steve McNamara confirmed Sam Tomkins is in full training.

Tomkins is part of what McNamara hopes will be a fully-fit squad to select from for the opening Test at the KC Stadium, after recovering from the knee injury that kept him out of the 84-4 win against France on Saturday.

He hasn’t played since the end of August due to the injury, which prematurely ended his NRL season, but he is widely expected to be part of McNamara’s 19-man squad on Friday for the game, and push Zak Hardaker for the full-back role in the team.

If he gets the nod at full-back, Hardaker will likely revert to centre, a position he has played extensively in the past.

“We’ve got a couple of bumps and bruises from the French game,” McNamara said at the squad’s training base at St George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent. “There’s nothing major, but things that may curtail some players’ involvement in the whole of training.

“But the seven who didn’t play on Saturday will train fully, including Sam.”

Kiwis coach Steve Kearney is checking on the fitness of prop forward Adam Blair and centre Jordan Kahu at his club’s camp in Perpignan after both men picked up injuries in the tourists’ bruising 34-16 win over Leeds at Headingley last Friday.