Tomkins pleased with England progress
Sam Tomkins believes there is an exciting future for England as they prepare to head into World Cup year.
The Wigan Warriors full-back was at the heart of England’s latest success, scoring two tries in a 48-4 rout of France in the final of the autumn international series at Salford City Stadium.
Steve McNamara’s men scored 172 points and conceded just 22 in their three matches against France and Wales but, even more importantly, according to Tomkins, were able build combinations and create harmony during the six weeks they spent together.
“I think the series has been a massive success for us,” Tomkins said. “It’s not only the three convincing wins but what we’ve done on the training field.
“We’re a lot tighter group now. We know the structures that we’ve got in place work and we’re getting better and better.
“It’s hard to get that fluency when you’ve been battering each other for 28 weeks and all of a sudden you’ve got to get together.
“What I think Steve Mac has done is get all the lads to be mates which I think goes a long way in rugby league.
“Starting with the trip to South Africa, the camp’s just been brilliant, the best I’ve been involved in so I’m excited about what’s to come.”
England will next be in action against the Exiles in June but the acid test will come next October when they kick off their World Cup campaign against Australia in Cardiff.
Tomkins knows that will be a big step up from facing France and Wales but he believes England could not be in much better shape right now.
“We always perform better as a national side on home soil and our preparations are better than anyone’s, I can assure you of that,” he said.
“So we’re putting ourselves in the best position. We’ve just got to perform next year now.”
Tomkins missed England’s opening 80-12 rout of Wales with a knee injury but his four tries against France took him three clear at the top of the try chart.
Winger Ryan Hall is now second following his four-try haul at Salford while, on the other flank, Josh Charnley took his tally to five in just two appearances to demonstrate England’s devastating tryscoring ability.
“We’ve got the two best tryscorers in the league in Hally and Josh Charnley so, if we get the ball out there, we will score,” Tomkins said.
With Tom Briscoe also pushing for a recall, England have healthy competition for the wing spots, while fit-again duo Rangi Chase and Sean O’Loughlin both made the most of their return to action with impressive displays at Salford.
Chase sat out England’s opening two matches after picking up a groin strain on the South African training camp but was handed a recall in place of Richie Myler.
Despite it being his first game for eight weeks, the 2011 Man of Steel instantly looked sharp as he renewed his promising partnership with Kevin Sinfield.
“It’s good playing with Kev,” he said. “He’s an awesome leader. He leads from the front and turns four points into six every time.
“I got injured and Richie took his chance. Credit to him, he didn’t put a step wrong. He made me push hard in training and I finally got the nod for the final.
“I was a bit rusty, as you’d expect with nothing for a couple of months, but overall I’m happy with the way I went.”
Like Tomkins, Chase is convinced England are on the right track for the World Cup.
“It’s a long way away but the biggest thing is that we’re getting closer together as a group and bonding like a family,” he said. “It’s only going to get closer with another year to go.”
Tomkins, who was today starting a holiday in Las Vegas, will return to training with Wigan on December 6 and Chase, too, is not planning on having much of an off-season.
“I’ll have a couple of weeks off,” he said. “I didn’t play many games towards the end of the season so my body is still pretty fresh. I’ll get in there and rip in with my team-mates.”