Number no clue to Tomkins’ future role

Joel Tomkins finished this season operating in the middle
Joel Tomkins finished this season operating in the middle

Joel Tomkins is not paying any attention to the number emblazoned across his kit and training gear.

The 29-year-old has been handed the No.11 shirt for 2017, ahead of England forward John Bateman (14).

Tomkins made his name as a second-rower and played in that role after returning from a spell in rugby union.

But his last action was operating in the middle as he battled knee problems, which eventually cut short his season as he needed surgery.

He is now back into rehab and is unsure what position his future lies in.

“It’s just a number, I suppose,” he said. “I don’t know where I’ll play, I’ll see when I start running how the knees are and what my lateral movement is like.

“Wherever Waney wants to play me in the pack I’ll be happy – but I think my centre days are over!

“Faz (Liam Farrell) and Batty are both quality back rowers who did well for England, Lockers is at loose forward and we’ve got a host of front-rowers.

“So wherever I play there’s strong competition for places.

“But it’s the start of pre-season and everyone is on a level playing field.

“It’s for the players to force their way into the side.”