SAM Tomkins has been given some helpful advice as he prepares to make his rugby union bow this weekend.
Not that London-born Wigan Academy centre Jamie Acton – who grew-up playing the 15-man code – thinks he’ll need much assistance.
Acton, 19, said: “I don’t think the Barbarians game will easy for him, but he’ll just relish the challenge and really enjoy it.
“I don’t think the pressure or the game intensity will affect him at all.”
Upon Acton’s arrival at Wigan at the start of 2011 – after catching the eye representing England at U-18 level – it was Tomkins [pictured below] who went out of his way to put the newcomer at ease.
“When I first came to the club, Sam was one of the most down-to-earth blokes I’d ever met,” Acton revealed.
“He welcomed me straight away and I felt like he was on my level.
“He helped me from my first training session, he talked to me constantly, he kept reminding me everything’s alright and helped my through all the little niggly things.
“One of the big things I got from him was how relaxed he was, and how much confidence he had in himself.
“He also remains so calm and professional under pressure – qualities that he’ll need this weekend.”
Tomkins – who has been handed the No.14 shirt for Saturday’s showpiece clash – will need all that and more when he faces the Wallabies, as he will undoubtedly be a target for the big Aussie forwards.
Action, however, believes the athleticism that rugby league thrives on will see Tomkins through.
“I think fans from both codes have a misconception about the two sports, and union fans are a little bit naive sometimes about how much the game of rugby league has changed, and how fast and intense it is these days,” he explained.
England RL ace Tomkins arrived in London to meet his new team-mates yesterday after completing his Four Nations duties.
Ending speculation on whether or not he’d wear England socks, he revealed via Twitter that he will be sporting Wigan socks in the true Barbarians’ tradition of players wearing their club socks.
He will also become the first player to play against Australia at both codes in consecutive weeks.
While he’ll be cheering Tomkins on this weekend, Acton has more pressing things on his mind in the form of looking to impress Shaun Wane enough to get some first-team games in 2012.
And the teenager hopes the new coach’s history of developing Wigan talent will give his chances a huge boost.
“He’s stressed this year that he wants big, powerful players, and is really focused on athleticism within the team and that’s something I strive on completely,” added Acton.
“It would definitely suit me, so hopefully under his management style I can kick on.”
WARRIORS stars Darrell Goulding, Pat Richards and Paul Prescott will be helping launch the new 2012 away kit at the Grand Arcade tonight.
The first-team trio will be in attendance to meet the fans and sign autographs as the new strip is made available to buy for the first time from Warriors World.
The shirt will go on general sale from tonight, with the players in attendance between 6pm and 7pm.
All the shirts that have already been pre-ordered are being processed and dispatched, and should arrive by post in the next few days.