29th March 2019, 12:24 | super_league

Tomkins ready for return to Wigan

Tomkins ready for return to Wigan

Sam Tomkins admits it will be like visiting “an old home” but insists he will be prepared for any barracking when he makes his eagerly-awaited return to Wigan Warriors.

The 30-year-old England full-back spent nine seasons with his home-town club, culminating in a third Grand Final triumph at Old Trafford last October, and says he will always have a soft spot for them.

However, his loyalties will be firmly with Catalans Dragons on Sunday as he prepares to enter the away dressing room at the DW Stadium for the first time in the round eight Betfred Super League fixture.

“It will be the first time I’ll have played at the DW not supported by a lot of people,” Tomkins said.

“I’m looking forward to it, it’s a good challenge for us as a team and  I’m excited to play against a lot of good mates.

“It will be strange, it will feel like going into an old home, I spent so many years there.

“But I’ve played against my brothers and it’s just 13 players that you’ve got to get past.

“There’s nothing personal on the field. I’ll be doing everything I can to help us get the win and I’ll be mates with them after the game.

“I’m not too sure what sort of reception I’ll get. Hopefully a good one but I’m used to taking a little bit of stick off opposition supporters and, if I do get any, I’m thick-skinned enough to deal with it.”

Tomkins has all the inside information on his old club and says stand-off George Williams will be the man the Catalans need to stop.

Williams went through an early-season dip in form amid speculation of a move to Canberra for 2020 but showed his class with a hat-trick of tries in last Sunday’s much-needed win at Salford Red Devils.

“George is world-class,”Tomkins said. “People are giving him grief just because there’s talk of him going to the NRL.

“George is still one of the best half-backs in the competition. comfortably. He’s put himself on the international stage, playing for England and playing well.

“When we’re previewing the Wigan team, George is certainly the go-to man that we have to try and nullify.”

Meanwhile, Tomkins will go up against his successor and long-time full-back rival Zak Hardaker, the former Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers favourite who has made a steady, if unspectacular, start to his Wigan career following his return from a 14-month drug ban.

“I think he’s been one of the better players for them so far this year,” Tomkins said.

“He’s a really good attacking player and he came up with an amazing defensive effort against Ben Currie a couple of weeks ago. When he’s on his game, he’s top-class.”