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Match Preview – England vs Combined Nations All Stars

England’s Sam Tomkins talks about his surprise at being named England captain for Friday’s clash against the Combined Nations All Stars, live on Sky Sports Arena, Mix and Main Event (8pm). Tomkins talks about his leadership experience and driving 1,000 miles to join the England squad

Last updated: 06/25/21 10:39 a.m.

Sam Tomkins has opened up about his shock this week receiving the England captain against the Combined All Stars

A “shocked” Sam Tomkins says he will put his leadership experience at Wigan into his role as England captain, starting with Friday’s game against the Combined Nations All Stars.

The 32-year-old Catalans Dragons full-back will lead his side at Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington in his 30th England appearance, nearly nine years after breaking out on the international stage with a try-three in Warrington. of his debut against Wales in Bridgend.

Tomkins takes on the English role from former Wigan teammate Sean O’Loughlin, who led the national team against New Zealand in 2018 and retired at the end of the 2020 season.

“It was definitely not planned,” Tomkins said after receiving the phone call from coach Shaun Wane. “It’s not something you think about. I took a bit of a step back, I didn’t know what to say to her.

“It’s a huge honor. To be named England captain is a mark of everything I have achieved in the game.

“I have been very lucky to represent England several times over the years, but becoming a captain is another thing.”

Wane, who coached Tomkins for most of his eight seasons at Wigan, said: “I’ve known Sam for a long time and he’s the perfect captain.

“He’s behaving well, he’s a very skillful player, plays a key role in games and offers real quality from the full-back.”

Match Preview – England vs Combined Nations All Stars

England’s Shaun Wane to use All Stars game as World Cup preparation

Tomkins, who will now be in pole position to lead his country in the season-ending World Cup, traces his captaincy to his involvement in the Wigan management squad under Michael Maguire.

“I was only 20 at the time and I didn’t really understand why I was there, but Michael Maguire explained that I was naturally a leader and he thought I would become this role over time. “said Tomkins.

“I think being involved in these groups and my time in Wigan in general has taught me to be a leader.

“Sean O’Loughlin is the best, along with Thomas Leuluai, and I learned a lot internationally where I had the chance to play alongside senior players like Adrian Morley, James Graham, Jamie Peacock and Kevin Sinfield, who are all accomplished leaders. “

Tomkins’ 1,000-mile road trip to England

Tomkins demonstrated his commitment to the English cause by covering over 1,000 miles on his own from his home in the south of France to join the team last weekend.

Full-back and Catalans teammate Tom Davies, who is expected to make his England debut, have been dissuaded from taking a flight as it would have meant quarantine on their return.

“I got the clearance Friday noon so I got in my car and drove off, it was that easy,” said Tomkins. “I don’t mind driving, I have three children under five at home so 15 hours of silence was welcomed.

Match Preview – England vs Combined Nations All Stars

Tomkins drove 15 hours from the south of France to join the England squad to avoid quarantine

“I stopped around four in the morning and went to Northampton services for a few hours.

“The worst part was waiting for the train in Calais. It’s not that bad to drive, I’ve done it before.

“And for the opportunity to put on an English jersey, it was really obvious.

“Playing for England is something I’ve been wanting to do since I was seven, so a 15 hour commute is nothing against being able to put on an English shirt.”

Friday’s game takes place amid controversy with Super League clubs playing a series of matches, but Tomkins has no doubts about his priority.

“It is extremely important,” he said. “To be successful we need the best preparation at our disposal and that is what this game is about.

Match Preview – England vs Combined Nations All Stars

The England team in training this week at Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington

“I understand that clubs and fans are frustrated that there are Super League games going on this week, but a series of games is slightly compromised for the best possible preparation for a World Cup, I think that worth it.”

Bateman: Playing for your country one of the best feelings ever

Meanwhile, Wigan’s second rower John Bateman defended Friday’s game which drew criticism following his clash with a series of Super League games.

“I can’t understand why people wouldn’t want this played out,” Bateman said.

“People say the national game is priority, but for me the international game is what it is.

“Playing for his country is one of the best feelings ever. Some of these boys haven’t made it by going out and making their debut this weekend yet, that’s what it’s all about. acts, to be able to see the players doing it.

“For my part, I will never get tired of it, I will play for my country until the day I stop playing rugby.”

Match Preview – England vs Combined Nations All Stars Match Preview – England vs Combined Nations All Stars

England vs Combined Nations All Stars

June 25, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

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The mid-season game was organized to help Wane in his preparations for the World Cup.

Bateman, who played in the 2017 World Cup final, added: “It’s a big stepping stone for us as a team. We want to win the World Cup and these games play a huge role in that.”

He returned to Wigan early in the season after a stint in the NRL with the Canberra Raiders.


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