Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting TIMES NEWS to 80360, or email us
Saracens centre Joel Tomkins delighted as England call-up moves him closer to 2015 World Cup target
Joel Tomkins admits playing at the 2015 World Cup was a huge motivating factor in his decision to switch from rugby league to union and says he is delighted to be called up to the England squad for next month's QBE internationals.
Tomkins, 26, joined Saracens midway through the 2011/12 season from league side Wigan Warriors and was an integral part of the first team last season.
His consistent performances saw him called up for England's tour to Argentina in the summer but he was forced to pull out due to an ankle injury.
Tomkins admits he had his sights set on the World Cup when he switched codes almost two years ago and he is pleased to have taken a step in the right direction.
"The World Cup was a massive motivating factor in my decision," Tomkins told the Times Series.
"Any young player would look at the World Cup here in England as the pinnacle of the next few seasons so that was definitely a massive pull for me.
"I thought if I was going to give myself a shot at getting in the squad for the World cup it was the right time and it's good that things are going in the right direction. I'm delighted."
Injuries to other English centres - Manu Tuilagi, Anthony Allen and Sarries teammate Brad Barritt - gave Tomkins his chance and he is determined to take it.
"It's come through injuries but that's often how people get their opportunities - through other people's misfortune," he said.
"It's sad for the lads missing out but it gives us guys coming in a chance."
He added: "I haven't spoken to Brad [Baritt] yet but injuries unfortunately come with the territory and I know if I need any advice I can go to Brad and speak to him."
Tomkins was eased in gradually to rugby union and saw his initial contribution at Saracens limited.
The centre however insists the plan was always to take things slowly and he paid tribute to Saracens for helping him achieve his England call-up.
"Saracens have been massive for me," he said.
"Quite a few people have crossed codes and it hasn't quite worked out but choosing the right club is a massive thing.
"If you're with the right people you give yourself the best chance of making it a success.
He added: "The plan was always just to get used to the game early on - I'd never played before - and then hit the ground running last season.
"It was disappointing to miss the tour in the summer through injury but it was a positive to be selected for the England squad then and fortunately I've been given another chance."
Comments are closed on this article.