Sam Tomkins on exciting young star Will Pryce

Sam Tomkins
Photo: Simon Whitehead/News Images

Sam Tomkins has urged caution over rising star Will Pryce and pleaded with the media not to tell everyone that he’s going to be the next big thing before he is.

Teenage Pryce has emerged as rugby league’s most marketable player after a stunning breakthrough season for the Huddersfield Giants.

MORE: Super League’s most marketable player? Will Pryce on his idols

The 19 year-old has spoken of his own desire to emulate idol Tomkins, having learned valuable rugby and life lessons from father Leon Pryce, and uncle Karl Pryce who also starred in Super League for Bradford and Wigan.

But Tomkins, the England captain and reigning Steve Prescott Man of Steel, has warned fans and media alike to allow Pryce time and space to develop.

Excited by Will Pryce

“When you see someone who just has that natural ability it is exciting,” Tomkins told Love Rugby League.

“I just want everyone to back him, support him, and don’t tell everyone that he’s going to be the next big thing before he is. 

“I hope people don’t put too much pressure on him. He’s a young kid with a lot of learning to do and I just hope it is done as it should be. 

“I don’t want too much pressure going on him as he is a genuine talent, it’s clear that when he has got the ball in hand he can be dangerous, he’s fast and elusive, he must get that from his uncle Karl! 

“He’s a natural rugby league player, you can tell. When he has the ball in his hand he isn’t thinking too much about structure, it is off the cuff, and that is clear.”

Tomkins came up against Pryce on the teenager’s Super League debut last season, making a point of shaking his hand as the youngster entered the action off the subs bench.

Picture by Chris Mangnall / Sam Tomkins tackles Leon Pryce during a St Helens v Wigan derby in 2010.

So was this an iconic moment signalling the changing of the guard?

“It might have looked like that now but at the time I didn’t know how good he was,” Tomkins tells me.

“I’m good friends with his uncle Karl who played at Wigan with me so I’ve seen him growing up and just wanted to make him feel welcome.

“It’s a daunting day, an amazing day when you make your debut and I just wanted to shake his hand and said enjoy it, you’ll never forget it for the rest of your life.”

Flying the family flag

As for old stager Tomkins, this will be the first ever season in which he flies the flag for his family, having seen elder brother Joel (34) and younger brother Logan (29) both retire from professional rugby league.

“Our parents normally have calendars with mine, Logan’s and Joel’s games listed on, and it’s easy now as those two have retired so they’re purely Catalans fans. 

“For the family it’s easier. For me, when I’m playing with my brothers they become a teammate but I was seeing Joel here every day and now he’s back in England.”

Tomkins is in the final year of his Catalans contract and is currently in talks with the club over a new deal that would see the 32 year-old end his career in France.

PLAY: Pick Sam Tomkins or Will Pryce in our Fantasy Rugby League team now

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