Exclusive: Sam Tomkins lifts lid on his England role, helping Shaun Wane, why Lee Briers is the perfect fit

George Riley
Sam Tomkins England Alamy

Sam Tomkins in action for England in last year's World Cup

Sam Tomkins has revealed his likely role with England this autumn and explained why Lee Briers’ appointment will benefit the national team.

Speaking exclusively to Love Rugby League after England head coach Shaun Wane announced he wanted Tomkins around the squad for the series against Tonga, the Catalans full-back has backed a new-look coaching set up to drive the World Cup semi-finalists to the next level.

But the 34-year-old, who captained England in that World Cup run last year, has admitted he is still in the dark about his own role, having maintained he will never retire from playing for his country.

Indeed Tomkins has not yet spoken to Wane about a role within the squad, and the Wigan great heard about his potential involvement was via Love Rugby League.

“I’ve not discussed anything with Shaun, I’ve just read the article that he said I would be welcome in camp any time,” Tomkins told us.

“I’ll speak to him closer to the time and see if there is any way I can help and if not then I will go in as a fan and do whatever he wants me to do.

“I just want a successful England team. I’d be about 100/1 to get picked in it as a player now, but I’m more than happy to help in any other way if Shaun wants me to.

“He clearly has good staff, so rugby-wise the players will be well prepared. They stay in nice hotels with good buffets in so I’m happy to go in just for some free food!”

Sam Tomkins highlights why bringing Lee Briers in will benefit England

Tomkins is nursing a troublesome knee injury through the final few weeks of the Super League season before retiring, with the Dragons in a real fight with Wigan and St Helens at the top of the table.

But the two-time Man of Steel winner has long insisted he will always be available for England.

Wane has a close bond with Tomkins from his Wigan days and is keen to tap into that experience alongside that of incoming Warrington head coach Sam Burgess who will also be invited into camp, former Castleford boss Andy Last and Lee Briers who will travel back from Australia to work as assistant coach after an impressive debut season with Brisbane in the NRL.

“Bringing in Briers is a really good attacking move,” says Tomkins.

“Wane is not a lone coach, he is very good at speaking to others and welcoming other ideas.

“Briers was well-regarded at Wigan and has gained more experience in the NRL, so to have diverse minds in the team is important.

“He is clearly a good coach, likes exciting rugby and will work well with Shaun who has very strong values and would not bring anyone in who would not buy into what he is doing.

“If Shaun had any doubts that someone wasn’t right for the job then he wouldn’t go anywhere near it.”

The three England-Tonga games this autumn will be held in St Helens, Huddersfield and Leeds.

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