Tomkins on brink of England record
2nd November 2012
Sam Tomkins is poised to become England’s all-time leading tryscorer after being recalled for tomorrow’s international against France at Craven Park, Hull.
The Wigan Warriors full-back, who has scored 12 tries in just 13 appearances for his country, needs just one more to equal the record set by former St Helens and Wigan winger Alf Ellaby in 1935.
England’s impressive young outside backs were responsible for 11 of the 14 tries scored against Wales last Saturday and a near full house at Craven Park could be set for another points feast.
The 23-year-old Tomkins, who has recovered from a knee injury that forced him to sit out the Wales game, scored four tries against the French on their last visit to England two years ago.
Ryan Hall, who scored twice in last Saturday’s 80-12 rout to take his total to nine in 13 appearances, needs one more to reach 150 in his career and two more to draw level with another Leeds Rhinos winger, Mark Calderwood, who is third in England’s all-time list.
England coach Steve McNamara was delighted with the ruthlessness displayed by his side in Wrexham, where they ran in 54 points in the second half, and is looking for another commanding performance as they prepare for the bigger tests to come in the 2013 World Cup.
He does not fear that another one-sided international could prove to be a turn-off, with the two teams due to meet again in next Sunday’s final at the City of Salford Stadium.
“It’s never dull against the French,” he said. “They’re an extremely proud bunch and the stability that they’ve got over the last couple of years is going to really help them.
“We’ve not played them in mid-season for a couple of years, which was partly down to them as well. They wanted a break to regroup and I think they’ve got that stability now.
“I think it’s going to be a pretty fierce French team and it will be in the final regardless of the result at the weekend because they’ve got some very good players and nearly all of them are from the Catalan Dragons which gives them a bit of an advantage as well.”
All but two members of France’s 20-strong squad are either past or present Catalan players and McNamara believes the fine work of Australian Trent Robinson in his two years in charge of the Perpignan-based Super League club will have rubbed onto the national team.
“The influence that Trent had on the Catalan team been pushed into the French team, who have always been renowned for being physical but they’ve actually got some subtlety as well,” McNamara said.
“There is a big Australian influence with the way they play with the ball. They present challenges all across the park.
“They have some big human beings and they can play some of those forwards like (Sebastian) Raguin in the outside backs so it can make their team even bigger.”
McNamara is keeping changes to a minimum, with Warrington Wolves forward Ben Harrison coming in for the injured Sean O’Loughlin and winger Tom Briscoe earning a recall, and he insists his players will be motivated for what is effectively a dead rubber.
“I think the players are motivated for every Test match because they understand that, if they don’t play well, they miss out,” he said.
“That’s the nature of it. There are plenty of people to step into their shoes. The players last week played extremely well but everybody wants to play in finals.
“We want to win this game and win this game well and improve on last week.”
The referee for tomorrow’s match is New Zealander Shane Rehm, who was in charge of two matches in the 2010 Four Nations Series down under.