Sam Tomkins hopeful over fitness after inspiring rout for England
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Sunday 04 November 2012
Sam Tomkins is adamant that he will be fully fit to inflict more misery on the French on Sunday, but Gareth Ellis's participation depends on the decisions of others.
Tomkins returned after a knee injury to score two tries in the 44-6 win over France on Saturday – the dress rehearsal for the finale of the autumn international series at Salford. He came off after an hour, but insisted that his knee had given him no problems.
"It was good to get that game under my belt," he said. "Luckily, I've not been injured before, so six weeks seemed like a long time."
Tomkins' second try at Hull KR made him England's record try-scorer with 14. Even he admits Mick Sullivan's 41 for Great Britain is a more meaningful target – and he is sufficiently prolific to get close to that figure.
An international review panel will decide today whether Ellis will face a disciplinary hearing over the high tackle that knocked out the French full-back Cyril Stacul. The second-rower was placed on report for the tackle.
Sean O'Loughlin is a doubtful starter for the final with the hamstring strain that kept him out of Saturday's match. That raises the issue of whether the England coach, Steve McNamara, will use any of the players who have not yet had a run in the mini-tournament, such as Rangi Chase or Wigan's Liam Farrell.
McNamara has not been averse to leaving players on the sidelines. It is not something they are used to, he says, and he likes to see how they cope with it.
Salford, who are hosting the first international at their new stadium, hope that the future of the club will be clearer after a meeting of interested parties tomorrow. The City Reds face a winding-up petition in the High Court in January and are desperate for new investment.
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