Tomkins: Leuluai is the perfect replacement for Smith

Wigan fullback Sam Tomkins is confident Tommy Leuluai is the man to fill the void after Matty Smith’s departure to St Helens.

The New Zealand international returned to the DW Stadium after a three-year spell in the NRL with the New Zealand Warriors.

“He’s a natural leader and he demands respect from everyone,” Tomkins told Love Rugby League.

“We lost Matty Smith last year who was a good leader but that’s what Tommy’s going to bring and I’m sure he’ll put his stamp on the team.”

Just under four months on from having an operation following an ankle injury, Tomkins is still on track to come back in April as planned.

The 27-year old suffered the injury during Wigan’s 35-28 victory away to Warrington in the Super 8s.

“It’s been frustrating that I’ve not been out on the field but in terms of what I’ve been doing training wise it’s all gone well,” he said.

“The injury is coming on well and hopefully I’ll be back around April.”

When asked about the new players that have joined the squad, Tomkins admitted Morgan Escare in particular had caught the eye.

The 24-year old French international joined the Warriors from Catalan on a one-year deal.

“From what we’ve seen he’s lightning fast, he’s skilful and he can kick,” he said.

“Looking at how he played at Catalan he was just a runner there I don’t think he was used as well as he could be.

“I think he’ll come out to be a real star for us this year.”

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