England captain Sam Tomkins has told Love Rugby League that he has been dreaming of lifting the World Cup trophy later this year.
The Catalans fullback, 33, has already represented his country on the grandest stage twice. A semi-finalist in 2013 and a beaten finalist in 2017 with the Wall of White, Tomkins has unfinished business.
He and his national teammates will play a Combined Nations All Stars team in a warm-up game this week.
“It will be a huge honour playing at a World Cup on home soil. There’s nothing bigger,” Tomkins said.
“It’s an amazing opportunity and I can’t wait. The prospect of being able to lift a World Cup trophy is something that dreams are made of. I must admit, I have been dreaming about it. I’ve not let myself dream too much because it’s a long way off.
“There’s a lot of rugby to be played before then, but it’s an opportunity which everyone playing for England wants to take. It’s always an honour to pull on the England jersey. This week is just as special as any other time.
“Captaining the side is a huge honour. As a kid, you grow up and hope that you can play in Super League. Then, you hope that you can get into the international team. Becoming the captain of that team isn’t really something that you focus on, but when Shaun [Wane] asked me, the answer was always going to be ‘yes’.”
Lions Fancying their Chances
In England’s group at the World Cup are Samoa, France, and Greece. The tournament was pushed back to later this year due to the affect of COVID in 2021.
Tomkins and co. are amongst the favourites, which he isn’t surprised at. The three-time Grand Final winner added, “We’ve got a great chance.
“When I look at the quality of players that we’ve got playing – both over here and in the NRL as well – there’s no doubt that we have a great chance.
“We’re under no illusions that there’s going to be some very good teams who we’re going to come up against, that’s for sure.
“Those teams will know that they have to come up against a very strong England side too though. Everyone’s got to be on top form.”
Spots must be Earned
Tomkins has helped club side Catalans to second place in Super League at present. After last year’s narrow Grand Final defeat to St Helens, the French outfit are chasing success.
The former Wigan man knows more than most how important success at club level can be. His first England cap came 13 years ago, back in 2009, against Wales.
“Nothing is gifted,” Tomkins told Love Rugby League. “I’ve worked with Shaun [Wane] and he’s coached me for a long time, but what I’ve learned in that time is that he picks people who are playing well.
“It doesn’t matter how close of a friendship we have, because if I’m not playing well, then I won’t get picked for the national team. There’s no easy passage into this squad.
“Shaun’s on top of us all every single week to provide us feedback after we’ve played a game for our clubs. It’s not always good, and it’s a reminder that you’ve got to be on top of your game at all times.
“It’s great to be back working with him.”
Prior to the World Cup, the Wall of White also have a warm-up match pencilled in against Fiji.
Set to be held at Rochdale’s Crown Oil Arena, that game had originally been scheduled for last year. A new date is yet to be confirmed.