SAM TOMKINS scored four tries as England eased past Wales this afternoon but their Gillette Four Nations opener was still far from convincing, writes Dave Craven
The Wigan full-back got off the mark inside the opening minute after Welsh prop Jordan James was floored by Ben Westwood in the first tackle of the game.
He got another following good work by Castleford Tigers’ Rangi Chase and Leeds Rhinos’ Kevin Sinfield who also combined to send Hull FC centre KirkYeaman over in the 22nd minute.
However, gutsy 100-1 tournament outsiders Wales - with Bradford Bulls prop Craig Kopczak impressing and Lee Briers adding some neat touches - only trailed 14-0 at the break with England making a number of errors.
As expected, Steve McNamara’s side took control in the second period, the elusive Tomkins completing his treble after James Graham had sent Gareth Ellis surging clear, and then Keighley-born Brisbane Broncos centre Jack Reed adding his second try in as many appearances.
Sinfield gave Tomkins enough space to see Tomkins slide over for his fourth just before the hour but Bradford-bound winger Elliott Kear responded with a well-worked and deserved effort for Iestyn Harris’ side.
Melbourne Storm half-back Gareth Widdop - who impressed off the bench - raced clear to give Chirs Heighington his first England try before Widdop crossed himself after the hooter when Ryan Hall intercepted but the hosts - with Sinfield only kicking five goals from eight - were far from fluent and have plenty of work before next Saturday’s game against Australia at Wembley.