Tomkins is an able fallback option at full-back

Harlequins 12 Wigan 36
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The Independent Online

The England half-back Sam Tomkins revealed a new dimension in his first senior game at full-back as Wigan avenged their April home defeat by Quins. Tomkins scored the first try, had a hand in several others and made some key tackles as he showed that he is more than capable of handling the unfamiliar position.

His coach, Michael McGuire, was cagey about whether the switch was a long-term option. "He's a talented kid who would be good in many positions," he said.

The experiment might have looked like a case of fixing what wasn't broken, but it paid dividends after seven minutes. Thomas Leuluai's pass gave Tomkins the chance to come into the line and use his dazzling footwork to put the Warriors ahead.

Tomkins was involved in Wigan's other points of the first half, fielding Luke Dorn's high kick and running it deep into Quins' territory. That run yielded a penalty, which Pat Richards kicked to add to his earlier conversion.

Quins were enjoying plenty of possession and field position but they lacked a cutting edge and Wigan nearly scored a second try when Leuluai intercepted a Chad Randall pass. The scrum-half lacked the pace to go the length of the field, however, and Joel Tomkins knocked on within range of the line.

Worse was to come from the elder Tomkins brother. Steve Ganson had awarded a number of penalties for dissent before Joel Tomkins managed to concede one while in possession. As a result he spent the first 10 minutes of the second half in the sin-bin.

That hardly had a disastrous effect, however, as Wigan went further ahead through Darrell Goulding's breakaway try.

Quins got some reward for their competitiveness when Danny Orr scooped up a loose ball to send Jamie O'Callaghan away, but after Danny Ward had wasted an opening by kicking, the excellent Michael McIlorum scored for Wigan.

Ben Jones-Bishop, playing for the first time since fracturing his skull at Wigan, capitalised on improvised kicks by Randall and O'Callaghan to keep Quins in touch. They were blown away in the last few minutes, however, by two tries from Richards and one from Liam Farrell. That left a scoreline which rather over-emphasised the Super League leaders' superiority.

"I though we were pretty good for the majority of the game," said Quins' coach, Brian McDermott.

Harlequins Jones-Bishop; O'Callaghan, Clubb, Howell, Sharp; Dorn, Randall; Ward, Orr, Temata, Wilkes, Purdham, Bryan. Substitutes used: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Bolger, Mills, Ellis.

Wigan S Tomkins; Goulding, Gleeson, Carmont, Richards; Deacon, Leuluai; Fielden, McIlorum, Prescott, Tuson, J Tomkins, Farrell. Substitutes used: Riddell, Bailey, Mossop, Davies.

Referee S Ganson (St Helens).

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