Big-money Warriors signing Sam Tomkins has expressed an eagerness to play rugby union later in his professional career, revealing that a desire to play international rugby would be his "main reason" to switch codes.
The former Wigan fullback signed a three-year contract, understood to be worth more than $2 million, with the Warriors earlier this year - and was officially unveiled by the club in Auckland this week.
Tomkins' older brother Joel, himself a former Wigan Super League player, plays rugby for Saracens, and made his England international debut against the Wallabies at Twickenham on November 2.
The interest in international rugby, combined with his brother's glowing reports of life in the England team, have sparked Tomkins' interest in representing his country in rugby one day.
"That would be the main reason I'd go to union," he said.
"The rugby union international stage far outweighs the rugby league one - certainly in England it does.
"They played that game against Fiji and won 54-12 [last year], but there was 80,000 people at Twickenham.
"We play the Aussies [at the World Cup] and get 20,000 people tops. It's a completely different way of playing international games.
"My brother played internationals this year, and he's loved it. It's been brilliant. That would be the main reason for me to play rugby union, to get into the England set-up."
Tomkins played one game of union for the Barbarians in 2011, scoring a try at Twickenham.
The star fullback said when he does switch to rugby, a move to a French club footy interests him.
"Going to France quite excites me - playing rugby union in France would be nice," Tomkins said.
"It's only a couple of hours from England and somewhere a bit different. When I finish playing, I want to be able to say I've ticked a few boxes. Rugby union would be one of those."
A move to rugby would follow in the footsteps of former Kiwis captain Benji Marshall, who will play for the Blues in 2014.
Tomkins has yet to reach out to Marshall in Auckland, but backed him to be a star in the 15-man game.
"I'm sure he'll go on and be a success," he said. "Someone as talented as him at rugby league, I'm sure he'll crack it in rugby union as well.
"It will be interesting to see how he goes, but I'm confident he'll kill it."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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