Ideal gift for Sam, now it’s Saints crunch

Sam Tomkins celebrates his hat-trick try on his 24th birthday with brother Logan
Sam Tomkins celebrates his hat-trick try on his 24th birthday with brother Logan

SAM Tomkins created the perfect birthday present for himself – and then trained his sights on Friday’s mouth-watering derby against St Helens.

The full-back marked turning 24 – and his 150th match – last Saturday with a fine hat-trick in a 62-4 mauling of Widnes.

And after the Warriors sharpened their attacking knives, he is already counting the days to the first clash of the year against St Helens, at the DW Stadium on Good Friday lunchtime.

He said: “We’ve got a huge game on Friday and we’ve got to be ready for it.

“Building momentum is a big thing in rugby league, and it always helps if you can go into a big game with some form.

“You don’t want to stumble into a big match like this.” Wigan won three of their four contests against Saints last year, memorable victories on Good Friday at Langtree Park, in the Cup and a Magic thrashing.

“I love playing against St Helens, growing up in Wigan I know how much it means to everyone to get the win and it’s the same for me,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to it already.”

Man of Steel Tomkins – returning from a dead-leg injury - appeared back to his dazzling best in front of the Sky cameras on Saturday, carving the Vikings open with apparent ease to thrill the fans who braved the bitter cold weather.

“It was absolutely freezing - the coldest I’d been since a game for St Pat’s when I was eight,” he grinned.

“But the main thing was it was dry so we could get some good plays on, we played some good rugby and showed some good skills.

“Hopefully it’ll be a bit warmer on Friday. If not, well... we didn’t play too badly in the cold.”

Meanwhile, captain Sean O’Loughlin and hooker Mike McIlorum are expected to be fit to face St Helens on Friday after leaving the action early at the weekend. Shaun Wane will assess their knocks today.