Smith facing feverish calls for Tomkins

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The Independent Online

Tony Smith will rise from his sick bed today to consider team changes for the Four Nations clash with Australia at Wigan on Saturday.

England stand top of the table after the first week of the tournament, thanks to their win over France and the draw between Australia and New Zealand.

But Smith, who left training yesterday in the hands of his assistant, Steve McNamara, after a stomach bug, faces increasing calls for Wigan's Sam Tomkins to be included on his home ground.

Former Test scrum-halves, Alex Murphy and Andy Gregory, are among those agitating for Tomkins to be drafted in, despite Richie Myler's two tries against France and his apparent recovery from the high tackle that saw Jean-Phillipe Baile sent off in the last minute of that match.

Another who could come into consideration is the Huddersfield prop, Eorl Crabtree, who is now fully fit after keyhole surgery to his knee and trained with the squad for the first time yesterday.

England's Steve Ganson is to referee the match, despite Australia expressing dissatisfaction with his performance in the game against the Kiwis.

France have been told that David Ferriol will be for suspended for one match for the use of an elbow in a tackle but that Baile's dismissal is regarded as sufficient punishment. France have until this morning to decide whether to appeal against Ferriol's ban.

The Harlequins utility back, Lamont Bryan, is being given a second chance to prove he can make the grade as a full-time professional. Bryan was given a senior contract in 2008, but dropped down to the reserves again this year. He has been in prolific form at that level and his coach, Brian McDermott, said: "Lamont has turned his career around."