Rugby League World Cup: England full-back Sam Tomkins picks out France's Morgan Escare as the dangerman ahead of quarter-final
The World Cup hosts meet France at the DW Stadium and home favourite Tomkins has identified hs opposite number as the man to watch
Friday 15 November 2013
England full-back Sam Tomkins has identified his opposite number Morgan Escare as one of the main threats in Saturday night's World Cup quarter-final against France.
The 22-year-old Escare was shortlisted for the young player of the year award after a breakthrough season in Super League with Catalan Dragons and has carried that form into the World Cup for a generally disappointing French team.
Tomkins is expecting the Dragons-dominated French pack to lead the way for Richard Agar's team but believes the pacy Escare supplies the X-factor.
"France try to dominate through their forwards," said Tomkins. "They have got a lot of Catalan players in the squad who play together week-in, week-out so they have the benefit of a ready-made team which does go in their favour unlike any other country.
"Certainly one of their players to look out for is Morgan Escare, the full-back. I would say that he is one of the best young talents in Super League at the moment.
"He has got what you cannot teach, which is electric speed, so I think they will look to get the ball to him in the back-up plays and he will be looking to get outside some of our big blokes so we will be looking to shut him down."
Tomkins could be joined by as many as five of his Wigan team-mates for his final match at the DW Stadium ahead of his move to New Zealand Warriors.
Tomkins, Sean O'Loughlin, Michael McIlorum and Liam Farrell, who were in the team that beat Fiji in England's final group game in Hull last Saturday, are joined by Josh Charnley and Lee Mossop in Steve McNamara's 19-man squad.
McIlorum, whose appearance at the KC Stadium was his first of the tournament, could miss out on final selection, however, with St Helens hooker James Roby recalled after being rested for the Fiji game.
Charnley, Super League's leading tryscorer for the last two seasons, is certain to win his fourth cap after being recalled at the expense of Tom Briscoe in the only other change made by McNamara to the side that completed back-to-back wins in the tournament.
"It has been a difficult selection," said McNamara, who used every member of his 23-man squad in the three group games.
"We have no injuries to worry about and we have picked the strongest possible squad to take on France."
Tomkins had been hoping England's quarter-final would be in Wrexham, the quarter-final venue for the winners of Group A, but the consolation for the runners-up is the chance for him to make one last appearance in front of the Wigan fans.
"I am extremely excited to play at the DW Stadium again," he said. "It is a fantastic venue and I have got nothing but happy memories from my time there.
"I was not sure if I would get the opportunity to play there again and to be given the chance so soon is brilliant."
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