Sam Tomkins talks Challenge Cup final pressure, Matt Peet’s Wigan Warriors job and Rugby League World Cup | Rugby League News


England captain Sam Tomkins spoke exclusively to Sky Sports this week ahead of the weekend’s Challenge Cup final

England captain and Catalans Dragons’ Sam Tomkins talks exclusively to Sky Sports ahead of this weekend’s Challenge Cup final between Wigan and Huddersfield, discussing pressure, Matt Peet, the Rugby League World Cup and more ..

Tomkins, who spent two spells with Wigan (2008-2013, 2016-2018) either side of a stint with the NZ Warriors in the NRL, lifted the Challenge Cup twice with the Warriors in 2011 and 2013.

On Saturday, Wigan meet the Huddersfield Giants in the 2022 showpiece cup clash, having not won it since Tomkins last lifted the cup with them nine years ago.

The 33-year-old gives his thoughts on his old club and the pressure the occasion brings …

“They’re [Wigan] favorites going into the game. They’ve been pretty good this year. “Tomkins told Sky Sports.

Tomkins is the reigning Man of Steel for his performances with Catalans

Tomkins is the reigning Man of Steel for his performances with Catalans

“I think they’ve got the most exciting player in the Super League in Jai Field in the squad, so with him I think they have a good chance to beat anybody.

‘But it’ll be a tough task, because Huddersfield have been playing some good stuff as well.

“It’s certainly different to any other game.

Tomkins played for Wigan over two spells between 2008-13 and 2016-18

Tomkins played for Wigan over two spells between 2008-13 and 2016-18

“There’s extra pressure and the final is very different in terms of atmosphere. There’s a carnival atmosphere in the stadium because you get not only great support from the two sides playing, but fans from all the teams going to support the Challenge Cup.

“It’s a different feeling and there’s a lot of pressure on you especially because a cup like the Challenge Cup with the history it’s got, it’s one you don’t want to miss out on when you’ve got the chance, so I’m sure both players will be feeling that pressure already. “

Tomkins lifted the Challenge Cup twice with old club Wigan in 2011 and 2013 - they haven't won it since

Tomkins lifted the Challenge Cup twice with old club Wigan in 2011 and 2013 – they haven’t won it since

While the last 15 Challenge Cup finals have been hosted at Wembley Stadium, Saturday’s clash will be played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the very first time.

Tomkins believes it should make no difference, however, also commenting on Matt Peet’s successful first season in charge at Wigan.

“I don’t think it’ll make a difference. Obviously historically it’s at Wembley, and everybody’s day out is at Wembley, but if you’re going to swap Wembley for a stadium, what better one than the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium? It’s an amazing venue, “he says.

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host the 2022 Challenge Cup final for the first time

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host the 2022 Challenge Cup final for the first time

“And as an athlete and a rugby player, you want to play on the biggest stage and there’s nothing bigger in this country. I don’t believe it than where the guys are playing tomorrow.

“It would be a dream come true [for Peet] wouldn’t it. To say he only started coaching the first team this season and by this point of his coaching career he could have silverware, it’s a massive opportunity and I’m sure he wouldn’t have believed it 12 months ago had he been told he’d be leading Wigan out at a Challenge Cup final.

Wigan Warriors new head coach Matt Peet is in his first season in charge

Wigan Warriors new head coach Matt Peet is in his first season in charge

“But Matt’s a very good coach, he’s been in the Wigan system for a long, long time, and I’ve known him for many years but I’ve listened to a few of Matt’s interviews recently about his passion for the club and it really even confirms for me that he’s the perfect man for the job. “

Jenna Brooks spoke to Matt Peet earlier this season about his journey into Super League coaching

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Jenna Brooks spoke to Matt Peet earlier this season about his journey into Super League coaching

Jenna Brooks spoke to Matt Peet earlier this season about his journey into Super League coaching

Huddersfield coach Ian Watson is in his second season in charge with the Giants, and has seen a major upturn in form this year as they seek a first cup title since way back in 1953.

“He’s had some success with Salford, judging by their own standards, and to go to Huddersfield, he probably had a bit of an underwhelming start to coaching them last year, but this year they’ve certainly turned a corner, they’ve been exciting and got some great results, “Tomkins says.

“They’ll be a tough challenge and I’m sure Watson will have a plan in place to sort of take care of everything that Matt Peet’s organizing.

Huddersfield Giants head coach Ian Watson has been looking to lead the club to their first Challenge Cup title since 1953

Huddersfield Giants head coach Ian Watson has been looking to lead the club to their first Challenge Cup title since 1953

“It could go either way. I think Wigan are favorites, and they should be, but it’s important for Huddersfield to start well.

“Wigan are a team that once they’re in front, they’re tough to claw back. They’re pretty ruthless, they compete really high, they don’t give you many opportunities.

“For Huddersfield to win tomorrow, they’ve got to start really well. They’ve got to start fast and score first.”

Tomkins on Rugby League World Cup: We’ve got a chance to do something special

With the Rugby League World Cup originally scheduled for 2021 in England, Covid saw the tournament delayed a year, and it starts on October 15.

England skipper Tomkins talks preparations and also an amazing rest of the year of sport for England as the women’s football team, men’s, women’s and wheelchair rugby league teams and then men’s football team all compete at major tournaments.

“We’ve got a great opportunity with the men’s, women’s and wheelchair all running side by side, to go and do something special.

“Preparation is going good at the moment. We’ve had a few meetings and we’ve all caught up a few times.

Tomkins says England preparations are going well ahead of their home World Cup

Tomkins says England preparations are going well ahead of their home World Cup

“The real preparation starts in a few weeks when we’ve got the game against the combined all-stars. That’ll give us a true gauge of where we’re at.

“But preparations are well. We’ve got a good squad assembled, and Shaun Wane’s just been over to Australia meeting up with all the boys out there that qualify as well.

“We’re going to have a strong squad. And the fact that it’s on home soil, after it’s been delayed, it’s just building up the excitement and the anticipation. I can’t wait.

“What an amazing year it would be if we could take some World Cups out. There’s nothing better than being world champions there? And we’ve got quite a few opportunities this year as a country.”

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