Tomkins confirmed in Barbarians squad

 

Wigan full-back Sam Tomkins will make a one-off switch of codes by playing for the Barbarians against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

The 22-year-old will complete a unique double by lining up against the Wallabies just seven days after being in the England team that lost 30-8 to the Kangaroos in the Four Nations final at Elland Road.

Tomkins, who has made a pledge not to discuss a permanent move to rugby union for the next three years, was this morning drafted into the Barbarians' 22-man squad for the Killik Cup match.

Barbarians' commercial director Mike Burton said: "We are delighted that Sam, with the support of the coaches and management at Wigan, has accepted this opportunity to play in such a high-profile union match.

"The Barbarian club has a tradition of thinking outside the circle when inviting players with league backgrounds, and usually to everyone's benefit.

"In recent years the likes of Mat Rogers, Lote Tuqiri, Wendell Sailor and, a few months ago, Willie Mason, have all made a mark when playing for us on the big stage.

"We are confident that Sam will be equal to the challenge this week."

Wigan, who recently made Tomkins the highest-paid player in rugby league, have given their approval for the one-off switch.

Ian Lenagan, the Warriors' chairman and owner, said: "The Wigan club and Sam are very pleased to accept the Barbarians invitation.

"Sam is an exceptional player in either code of rugby and his selection shows the growing mutual respect between the codes of rugby league and rugby union in England.

"It's a great opportunity for Sam to experience the Twickenham atmosphere and showcase his talents on another major stage."

The Barbarians, coached by Graham Henry and Steve Hansen, have also called up All Black Richard Kahui and Fijiians Seru Rabeni and Nemia Kenatale following the withdrawal of Sonny Bill Williams, who has a hamstring injury, and Wales fly-half Stephen Jones, who is required by the Scarlets for Friday's match against Newport Gwent Dragons.

Barbarians secretary Alan Evans also confirmed that other Welsh players previously announced would not be available as they will be in a training camp ahead of Wales' match against Australia seven days later.

Barbarians squad: S Tomkins (England RL), B Habana (South Africa), I Toeava (New Zealand), R Fruean (Crusaders), S Mortlock (Australia), R Kahui (New Zealand), S Rabeni (Fiji), D Cipriani (England), P Stringer (Ireland), N Kenatale (Fiji), K Mealamu (New Zealand), A Strauss (South Africa), S Perugini (Italy), S Marconnet (France), E Guinazu (Argentina), V Matfield (South Africa), S Shaw (England), M Bortolami (Italy), J White (Scotland), J Kaino (New Zealand), A Thomson (New Zealand), M Bergamasco (Italy).

PA

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