SAM Tomkins will thrive under the burning glare of the national spotlight today, according to the coach who knows him best.
Warriors boss Shaun Wane brought Tomkins through the junior ranks at the club and has spent the past two years working with him as the first-team’s assistant coach.
The build-up to England’s Four Nations showdown with Australia at Wembley has been dominated by Tomkins, following his four-try haul in their tournament opener against Wales a week ago.
His duel with Kangaroos No.1 Billy Slater should be worth the price of admission alone and – with both BBC and Sky televising this afternoon’s encounter – Wane is backing the 22-year-old to rise to the occasion.
He said: “Sam absolutely loves pressure like this.
“Nothing worries him at all.
“He’ll be looking forward to going out on the big stage, with everyone watching, and performing.
“He will be relishing it.
“I know he’s enjoying being in the England camp and I know how much he wants to enjoy success with this team.”
Tomkins’ four tries against Wales was the obvious headline-grabber from last week’s 42-4 destruction of Wales at Leigh Sports Village.
But Wane was equally impressed with his contribution elsewhere.
“It’s great that he scored the tries, but what really impressed me was his enthusiasm,” he said.
“There was a moment when Craig Kopczak broke through and Sam butchered him with a great tackle, even though he’s 30kgs lighter.
“That’s nothing to do with anything I’ve taught him or Michael Maguire has taught him, that’s down to his will to win. He’s got the desire to do well.”
Australia are the favourites to reign supreme in the first international meeting between these sides at Wembley since the 1997 Super League series.
Previously, England beat the Aussies in a World Cup game in 1995 and GB were victorious in 1994.
Wane said: “I watched Australia’s game against New Zealand last week and there were times when the Kiwis nearly got them, especially down their left side.
“As long as England stay in the grind, stay mistake-free and execute their plays, they’ve got a chance.”
Kick-off is 3.30pm with New Zealand facing Wales in the opener of the double-header, kick-off 1pm.