Wigan Warriors' Sam Tomkins missed his OWN stag do to play for England
While he was making his return to the international scene after a four-year absence, his friends were celebrating his upcoming wedding on a boozy weekend to Hamburg.
Warriors colleagues Joe Burgess and Ryan Sutton, and former team-mates Lee Mossop and Chris Tuson, were among those who flew over.
But he was more than happy to miss out, given instead he was helping England to an 18-16 victory against New Zealand which put them 1-0 up in the series ahead of Sunday’s second Test at Liverpool’s Anfield.
Catalans-bound Tomkins said: “I had to plan it in well advance so mates could take time off work, and I didn’t know whether I would be playing for England or not, but I figured it was a win-win!
“They all knew the situation.”
Tomkins marries long-term partner Charlotte, mother of his two children, in January. He was recalled to the elite training squad in mid-season but only discovered he was in the England squad for this series earlier this month.
“I’m glad they had a good time without me,” said Tomkins. “I was getting all sorts from them all weekend!
“Luckily I turned my phone off overnight before the game because I woke up to missed FaceTime calls made at 3am!”
The England players are back in camp preparing for Sunday’s match against the Kiwis.
Tomkins is hoping he did enough in the first match – including the opening try, wearing the No.7 shirt at halfback – to retain his place.
“It’s been good, everyone is bouncing this week after the win,” said the 29-year-old.
“Wayne Bennett told me at the start of last week he was looking at playing me in the halves, which I was pleased about.
“I’ve played a lot of minutes in that position over the years and even this season, so I was fine with the role.
“It was good to get the win. The performance was pretty scrappy, we were a little disjointed in attack and defence and personally my kicking was way off – I’m better than I showed, and so if I’m selected this week that would be my aim.
“But collectively it’s about building on the little things we did well.”