With the Rugby League World Cup kicking off a little over two weeks away, Betfred was able to speak to England captain Sam Tomkins ahead of the major tournament.
The Catalans Dragons fullback was enthused about his country’s chances of winning the competition for the first time, a significant tournament for England as it will be hosted in the country.
Tomkins describes what it would be like to be a part of an England squad that could go on to create history and lifting the trophy on home soil.
He said: “That would be the dream come true. Every team’s trying to do it, I think there’s five teams capable of lifting the trophy. There’s a lot of hard work from now and then for that to happen, but we’re fully committed to that but if it does, it will be by far the greatest day in my career.”
Not only would winning the tournament in itself be a source of huge honour, Tomkins will be filled with even more pride as he will lead the country as its captain and leader throughout the tournament.
Tomkins expressed: “Captaining the country isn’t something that you aim for. You want to play Super League, you want to play international. So when I got told I was going to captain the team it was a huge honour and something I’m really proud of.”
When England coach Shaun Wane was selecting his England squad, he clarified that he wanted English-born players in the squad.
Despite this, he selected talented 24-year-old lock Victor Radley, who was born in Australia but was able to represent England due to his dad being born in Sheffield. Young players such as Dom Young and Herbie Farnworth were also selected and Tomkins believe they bring that youthful quality that is needed.
“You’ve got Dom Young and Herbie (Farnworth), they’re English-born players, Victor Radley, he’s got a daft Aussie accent unfortunately,” Tomkins playfully joked around.
“But his dads from Sheffield and he’s very passionate about representing that side of his family. This isn’t somebody that qualifies for living here for three years, this is a bit different.
“Sean rang me up and said he wants to represent England and he’s a quality player, he’s a top-end NRL player so the fact that he wants to play for England, I think is a huge boost for us.”
England are in Group A alongside Samoa, France and Greece. The Samoans will prove to be a difficult test for England if they have aspirations of topping their group, but Tomkins, despite acknowledging the litany of quality players in their ranks, affirms they are not afraid and knows the importance of beating Samoa in order to better their chances of winning the whole tournament.
“Nobody in our squad is worried. I think it would be a strange way to go into a game if you were worried in any sort of way. They’re a really good side, you look at their squad and they’re littered with NRL stars and guys that are playing in the NRL Grand Final.
“We’ve also got a good team and also have a group of guys that are going to go out and give 110% for that first game and it is important, there’s no getting around the fact. We want to finish top of our table and whoever wins that first game will win that group.”