Will England think it is time for Tomkins?

Nobody like to see injuries in our game, especially not to two guys who would probably have been representing England in the centres during the upcoming autumn internationals.

Our own Brad Barritt is out for a while with a foot injury and Leicester’s Manu Tuilagi joined him last weekend with a torn chest muscle.

We all hope they come back fit and raring to go.

Their injuries will give other players a chance to stake a claim to the shirt and names like Luther Burrell, Billy Twelvetrees and Jonathan Joseph have been mentioned this week as possible replacements.

I know I am biased because he is a team mate of mine but I would be putting some money on Joel Tomkins to be right in the mix too.

That’s not just because he is a Saracen.

Joel is big and strong but he has developed all parts of his game since coming over from Rugby League and he is now a complete player.

He is a clever lad and works hard at improving his game with the coaches here at the club. The results speak for themselves.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster likes lads with Rugby League experience and England backs’ coach Andy Farrell will like Joel because he has worked with him before when he was with Sarries.

Richard Wigglesworth is wondering whether injury will give Joel Tomkin a chance in the England squad

When you consider England’s centres will be up against lads like Adam Ashley Cooper from Australia and Conrad Smith from New Zealand this autumn, it makes you realise that whoever fills that slot has to be able to mix it physically and Joel is able to do that.

I also have a lot of respect for Joel after successfully swapping codes. There is a common held belief that the skills are just transferable from one rugby to another.

But Joel was telling me just how little skills are actually transferable from League to Union. He said he had to virtually start all over again after coming down to Saracens.

He has had to completely reshape his focus and the progress he has made in a short amount of time has been incredible.

He is not only big but he is fast as well and, I can tell you from personal experience, that he has a superb ability to make an off-load.

Big and strong, Saracen's Joel Tomkin is built for holding up the ball and offering an offload.

We have a training game at Sarries that we play in a 10-metre square and he always manages to get the ball out of the tackle. He’s got these big mitts and it feels like it’s impossible to stop him no matter how much you have wrapped your arms around his!

Lancaster has some interesting calls to make.


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