Throwback Thursday: When Sam Tomkins played for the Barbarians

This week’s throwback takes us back to 2011, when rugby league superstar Sam Tomkins made a cross-code switch for one game only.

The England international became the first contracted rugby league player to be selected for the Barbarians RU side and also became the first player ever to play in successive weeks against the Australian Kangaroos RL team and then against the Australian Wallabies RU side.

The Baa-Baas went down to a 60-11 defeat against Australia, with then Wigan star Tomkins scoring a late consolation.

Barbarians’ Sam Tomkins scores a try as he is tackled by Australia’s Adam Ashley-Cooper

Speaking at the time of the announcement in 2011, Wigan owner Ian Lenagan said: “For Sam, Wigan and rugby league to be recognised in this way by the other rugby code is indicative of the talent which Sam has and the growing recognition of the attractiveness and skill demonstrated consistently by rugby league each week. It also shows the growing profile and respect shown to rugby league and Wigan.

“The game itself is a great opportunity for Sam to play with and against some of the biggest international names in union and will show rugby union fans what a tremendous talent he is.

“The Wigan club was quick to give permission for Sam to play, a decision which fits well with previous Wigan creative initiatives in the Middlesex Sevens, the dual-code games against Bath Rugby Union and the recent Partnership announced with Saracens.”

Barbarians Sam Tomkins (second left) is congratulated by his team-mates after scoring a try during the Killik Cup match at Twickenham Stadium, London

Tomkins has enjoyed a stellar career, winning three Super League titles and two Challenge Cups with Wigan as well as winning the Man of Steel award in 2012. He has also been named in the Super League Dream Team on five occasions.

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