Brother in arms: Dynamic Tomkins duo draw on Wigan lessons ahead of international weekend duels

By Amy Lofthouse

There can be fewer brothers better equipped than Sam and Joel Tomkins to withstand the inevitable physical battles of a Rugby League World Cup clash or an England union debut against twice world champions Australia.

The former Wigan Warriors pair face precisely this at the weekend.

Sam, who recently signed the most expensive deal in rugby history with the New Zealand Warriors, will line up against Ireland in the World Cup while Joel will run out on the Twickenham pitch in the first of England’s autumn internationals.

Sam played a key role in Wigan Warriors’ successful season, leading consistently from the front as captain and signing off in style by starring in the club’s Super League victory over Warrington.

As England’s all-time leading try scorer, Sam is keen to help England win some silverware before he heads to New Zealand.

“Our preparations for Saturday are coming on well, especially off the back of a good performance against Australia,” he told Wigan Warriors website.

“We probably let them off the hook a bit with a couple of penalties so our discipline will be something we are looking to improve this weekend.

“I have never played at Huddersfield before, so to go there and have a full house is going to be great. We are all looking forward to it.”

For Joel, the weekend will be a nervous and exciting experience all in one.

The back, who switched codes when he left Wigan for Saracens in 2011, will make his debut at outside centre alongside Billy Twelvetrees in one of sport’s most enduring rivalries.

He made the change to improve his international chances and head coach Stuart Lancaster is confident that he is ready for the big stage.

“He has played in many high-profile games in his career and has a great temperament for the big occasion,” Lancaster told the BBC.

“It’s going to be a special occasion for him to run out at Twickenham in front of 82,000 passionate supporters for the first time.”

Image courtesy of Super League TV via YouTube, with thanks.

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