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Aviva Premiership
Gustard tips Tomkins for England
ESPN Staff
July 22, 2012
Saracens' Joel Tomkins shifts the ball, Saracens v Worcester Warriors, Anglo-Welsh Cup, Vicarage Road, Watford, England, January 29, 2012
Joel Tomkins will hope to see more of the ball this season © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Paul Gustard | Joel Tomkins
Tournaments/Tours: Aviva Premiership
Teams: England | Saracens

Saracens coach Paul Gustard has tipped rugby league convert Joel Tomkins to break into the England set-up.

Tomkins moved from the Wigan Warriors to the Aviva Premiership last term but saw his involvement in the XV form of the game limited to just four top-flight appearances. But with a full pre-season under his belt, Sarries' Gustard expects Tomkins to shine this term.

"I am expecting big things from centre Joel Tomkins this season," Gustard told the Rugby Paper. "He is good pals with Chris Ashton and I think he has high expectations of himself. We made a deliberate point of signing him midway through last season so he would have a few months to acclimatise to the demands of union.

"It means he comes into pre-season fully understanding all the intricacies of the breakdown and the other regulations so he is, in effect, on a par with every other player.

"We desperately want him to be a success in union not just for Saracens but for England as well. He is 6'3, 15st 7lbs, is lightning quick and is a brilliant offloader - that is a skillset for an outside centre that would benefit any international side.

"You obviously have Manu Tuilagi who is a very different beast, but I think Joel could be a huge success for England."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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