x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Jeers for Tomkins a disgrace he takes in style

Sam Tomkins silenced the boo-boys the only way he knows how, with outstanding performances on the pitch.

It is wonderful to watch Sam Tomkins silence the boo-boys the only way he knows how, with outstanding performances on the pitch. But it is a disgrace that so-called rugby league fans started their barrage of abuse against the Wigan Warriors youngster in the first place.

Tomkins is the most exciting young talent in England's Super League and deserves to be treated as such, especially when he is representing his country. The jeering began every time the 21 year old touched the ball while playing for England against the Exiles in front of a 14,174 crowd at Headingley in Leeds two weeks ago.

And St Helens fans jumped on the bandwagon when Saints entertained Wigan last Friday night.

Tomkins could accept some abuse from his team's derby rivals, but not from England supporters. "I don't mind taking a bit of stick playing at club level," he said. "But it's a bit of a joke when you're getting booed representing your country on English turf."

He has been able to answer his critics in style. "It'll take more than that to get to me. It's more pantomime booing," he said after Wigan's 32-10 demolition of Saints.

Wally Lewis, the Australia great, had a similar experience. His first Test as the Kangaroos' captain in 1984 was played while a feisty State of Origin match was still fresh in the crowd's memory, and Lewis, a Queenslander, was jeered by New South Wales fans in Sydney.

This should tell Tomkins something.

 

sentwistle@thenational.ae