Tomkins: Cas’ aren’t game-changers

Wigan have won eight of their 10 league games since Sam Tomkins returned from injury
Wigan have won eight of their 10 league games since Sam Tomkins returned from injury

Sam Tomkins has been impressed with Castleford’s form this season - but says they are not game-changers.

The Tigers wrapped up the league leaders’ shield with four games to go and have a massive for-and-against difference of +443 - by contrast, no other side went into this round of fixtures in three-figures.

Their free-scoring attack has had fans, and many in the media, eulogising about their style.

But ahead of tomorrow’s showdown at the DW Stadium, full-back Tomkins says there is nothing new about the way they play.

He said: “They’ve been the best side this year. They’ve been consistently good, and we know it’s a massive challenge.

“But I heard an interview with Michael Shenton, I think it was him saying they’re changed the way rugby league has been played - or he was quoted saying that - and they’re not doing that.

“They’re playing well.

“But they’re playing similar shapes to what every team plays.

“In 2010, when we started doing block plays, we were running different shapes which people hadn’t seen before.

“But all teams now run very similar set-ups, and whichever tean runs them best comes up with the goods.”

Castleford were knocked out of the Challenge Cup by eventual champions Hull FC, and must win their home semi-final later this month if they are to reach their first ever Super League Grand Final.

Tomkins said: “They’ve been the most consistent side all year and got the league leaders for it - the challenge for them is to win a knock-out game, because they’ve only been involved in one big one and they came up short.”

With competition for the last two play-offs positions tight, Tomkins has given up considering the various scenarios and says the players are treating tomorrow’s clash as do-or-die.

“All I know is we need to win our last two, and we’re in,” he said.

“It’s exciting, isn’t it? The RFL must be rubbing their hands together with the way it’s going, at the top and the bottom. It’s brilliant.”

Tomkins hasn’t played Castleford this season.

The two fixtures, both in April, fell during the time he was recovering from a broken foot.

Since returning to the side, he has steadily improved and had a huge influence on their surge up the ladder from eighth to third last weekend.

Shaun Wane believes he has done enough to earn a recall to the national team for the World Cup at the end of the season.

With Castleford’s Zak Hardaker a leading contender for the England No.1 shirt, their duel should provide an interest subplot to tomorrow afternoon’s game – Wigan’s last at the DW Stadium this year.

“Zak’s been outstanding this year, he’ll want to play for England and so do I,” added Tomkins

“Being up against Zak, he’s been playing some of his best rugby so i need to test myself.”

His brother Joel will return to the side to cover for captain Sean O’Loughlin, who misses tomorrow’s match with a calf injury. Joe Burgess will replace Liam Marshall in the only other change to the side which won 30-22 at Hull FC.