England legends Sam Burgess, Sam Tomkins to play a part in Tonga series, confirms Shaun Wane

Josh McAllister
Sam Burgess, Sam Tomkins, England

Shaun Wane has confirmed that England legends Sam Burgess and Sam Tomkins will play a part in the first ever test series against Tonga. 

Tomkins, 34, never officially retired from the international game although will hang up the boots at the end of the season due to an ongoing knee issue, bringing a close to an illustrious career spanning 15 years.

He captained his country at last year’s World Cup on home soil, falling short to Samoa in a dramatic semi-final clash at Emirates Stadium.

The two-time Man of Steel winner was omitted from the mid-season international with France at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, with Wane opting for a young squad that included 13 debutants.

Tomkins will continue his career off the field in the south of France with Catalans, with Wane admitting he will invite the three-time Super League winner into camp for the end-of-year series against Tonga – heading to St Helens, Huddersfield and Leeds.

Meanwhile, Lee Briers has been added to Wane’s backroom staff while Andy Last will continue in his role.

“He’s going to be invited in as much as he wants to come,” Wane said on former skipper Tomkins.

“He brings a lot to the squad, the lads love him. He’s a man of great experience, a good guy and very popular within the squad.”

Shaun Wane: Sam Burgess is a legend of the sport

The 58-year-old England boss also confirmed that NRL legend and incoming Warrington head coach Sam Burgess will also be invited in, having previously held talks to join Wane’s coaching staff for last year’s delayed World Cup – only to admit the pair weren’t able to “connect” due to busy schedules.

Burgess, who retired in 2019, won 24 caps for England and two for Great Britain and will take on his first role as a head coach next season at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on a two-year deal as Daryl Powell’s successor.

“Sam Burgess will be involved,” Wane continued.

“Anyone that can add value will, he’s a very proud Englishman is Sam (Burgess) and a legend of the sport, so he’ll come in and meet the players and join in training.

“He’ll come in, have a chat, be around the squad and watch video. He’s trying to get into head coaching himself and he’s open-minded, he wants to improve and he thinks he can get better coming in to camp with us.”

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