Sam Tomkins is one of the most experienced and successful players in Super League, but the England captain continues to be universally hated by rival fans.
And he doesn’t care one bit. In fact the 33-year-old family man says he still thrives off the theatre of his love-hate relationship with rugby league supporters.
“I couldn’t care less if Dave28 on twitter calls me a wa***r, or someone shouts that from row Z,” Tomkins reveals in an exclusive interview on this week’s Love Rugby League Podcast.
“It is not real life, people don’t know me. They see me doing my job for an hour and a half once a week. Social media is not real life. Abuse from fans is not real life.”
Sam Tomkins: It’s pantomime stuff
The England captain is one of the most respected players in the game. And he believes his edgy relationship with rival supporters is the legacy of some of his own lively behaviour in the early days of his career. Tomkins once angered Leeds fans with an obscene gesture at the 2011 Challenge Cup final at Wembley; and has always been happy to give as good as he gets from the terraces.
“I’ve copped things for a long time, certainly from Leeds fans,” he adds.
“I don’t really know why it started, it might have been sticking the fingers up at them. I think they started it, it’s one of them when you can’t remember who started an argument. It could have been me, I can’t remember.
“It’s pantomime stuff, not real life so it doesn’t worry me.”
In a lively discussion on the brand new podcast episode, Tomkins reveals how his Dragons team-mates are fascinated by the lively welcome he always receives from opposition crowds.
“The French lads loves it when we warm up in front of the away fans,” Tomkins added. “They have a variety of songs that are sung to me and they get translated into French and they love it.
“There’s some classics and Fouad Yaha makes sure he is stood behind me as he wants to hear them! I hope a few Leeds fans come over and give me some attention this week.”