Barbarians call on Wigan's Tomkins
November 21, 2011
Tomkins lined up for England in the Four Nations final against Australia on Saturday © Getty Images
The Barbarians have confirmed that rugby league star Sam Tomkins will line up for them against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
The Wigan fullback started for England against Australia on Saturday in the final of rugby league's Four Nations and will complete a remarkable double when he plays against the Wallabies at Twickenham. But Tomkins will not feature alongside Sonny Bill Williams after the All Blacks centre had to withdraw due to a hamstring injury. The latest additions to the squad - which will be coached by World Cup winning duo Graham Henry and Steve Hansen - include Italy's Mauro Bergamasco, Salvatore Perugini, France's Sylvain Marconnet, Scotland's Jason White and Irish scrum-half Peter Stringer.
And the Barbarians' commercial director Mike Burton is relishing the chance to see Tomkins in action and predicts he will make the same impact as some other famous cross-code luminaries.
"We are delighted that Sam, with the support of the coaches and management at Wigan, has accepted this opportunity to play in such a high-profile union match," Burton said. "The Barbarian club has a tradition of thinking outside the circle when inviting players with league backgrounds, and usually to everyone's benefit.
"In recent years the likes of Mat Rogers, Lote Tuqiri, Wendell Sailor and, a few months ago,Willie Mason, have all made a mark when playing for us on the big stage. We are confident that Sam will be equal to the challenge this week."
Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan admitted it was a great opportunity for Tomkins to showcase his ability in front of a packed Twickenham. "The Wigan club and Sam are very pleased to accept the Barbarians' invitation," Lenagan said. "Sam is an exceptional player in either code of rugby and his selection shows the growing mutual respect between the codes of rugby league and rugby union in England. It's a great opportunity for Sam to experience the Twickenham atmosphere and showcase his talents on another major stage."
Scarlets fly-half Stephen Jones - who missed out on selection for Wales' Test with the Wallabies on December 3 - will not line-up for the Barbarians due to club commitments: "We had very positive talks with the coaching staff at the Scarlets," Barbarians' secretary Alan Evans said. "They fully appreciated the honour it would have been for Stephen to play for us at this stage of his distinguished career but unfortunately their fixture commitments next weekend must take precedence."
Sam Tomkins (England RL), Bryan Habana (South Africa), Isaia Toeava (New Zealand), Robbie Fruean (Crusaders), Stirling Mortlock (Australia), Richard Kahui (New Zealand), Seru Rabeni (Fiji), Danny Cipriani (England), Peter Stringer (Ireland), Nemia Kenatale (Fiji), Keven Mealamu (New Zealand), Adriaan Strauss (South Africa), Salvatore Perugini (Italy), Sylvain Marconnet (France), Eusebio Guinazu (Argentina), Victor Matfield (South Africa), Simon Shaw (England), Marco Bortolami (Italy), Jason White (Scotland), Jerome Kaino (New Zealand), Adam Thomson (New Zealand), Mauro Bergamasco (Italy).
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?