Tomkins ready to carry the burden of hope

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England dangerman Sam Tomkins insists he has the mentality to handle the new-found pressure heaped on his shoulders.

Two years ago, the Wigan youngster was a comparative rookie who came into the international side admitting being in awe of some of his own team-mates as they lost the Gillette Four Nations final to Australia.

However, as the sides prepare to take part in an Elland Road rematch this evening, much of England’s hopes are now resting on the dynamic full-back’s ability to shred the opposition defence.

Tomkins’s profile has catapulted to a new dimension and another mesmerising performance this evening could even see him win the prestigious Golden Boot as the world’s greatest player.

But he maintained: “I don’t feel there’s any more pressure on me than anyone else.

“I just want to stick to the game plan. If the team is playing well and the forwards are dominant, generally I’ll be able to play my best rugby.

“As a team we’ve improved over the last three weeks and we’re going to have to do the same again.

“The major part of that is our forwards being dominant to give us outside backs the opportunity and space to play how we want to.

“The Aussies will be tougher competitors than the Kiwis were. They won’t give us the space so it’s up to us to make our own opportunities.”

Tomkins, 22, admits England – and himself – are better prepared for the challenge.

“I hadn’t even played a full season of Super League in 2009,” he recollected, having also started at stand-off before his switch to full-back.

“It’s a very different situation now for me personally and the team.

“Personally I feel a lot more comfortable playing international rugby. I was still star-struck two years ago that I was talking to Jamie Peacock and Adrian Morley.

“I probably had a bit too much respect for the Aussies and was probably feeling lucky to be playing against Billy Slater, Darren Lockyer and people like that.

“I certainly don’t have that feeling any more. There is this talk of the Aussies being so much better but I don’t think it’s as true as people make out. We’ve got the team and plan to beat them.”