Joel Tomkins : biography
Joel Tomkins (born 21 March 1987) is an English professional rugby union footballer for Saracens in the Aviva Premiership. Until recently, he was an England international rugby league representative second-row forward, and played his whole career, up until this season, at Wigan, winning the 2010 Super League Grand Final and 2011 Challenge Cup with them. In late 2011 he switched codes to rugby union with Saracens.
Wigan Warriors career
In 2005 was called up into the first team at the age of 18 and made his first team debut against Widnes Vikings in March 2005. During 2005 Joel made another 12 appearances scoring a total of 3 tries.
In February 2006 Joel agree a contract extension with Wigan Warriors which will keep him at the club until 2008. The talented youngster was given his first team chances under coach Ian Millward who had become head coach of Wigan Warriors in 2005. Joel started the first match of the 2006 season at / in a match against the Catalans Dragons which Wigan lost 38-30. Joel was demoted to the bench for the second match of the season against Leeds Rhinos. After 17 minutes he was brought off the bench and scored a try with his first touch of the ball to give Wigan a 4-0 lead, Wigan lost the match 16-24. Joel started from the bench for the next two matches against Huddersfield Giants and Salford City Reds but was dropped to the academy. He returned to the squad when he was named on the bench for the Challenge Cup Fourth Round match against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on 2 April 2006, he also played in the next couple of Super League matches against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and St. Helens before again being dropped to the academy. Ian Millard was sacked in April 2006 because of the poor results of the Wigan side, he was replace by Brian Noble on the 20 April 2006. Wigan were bottom of the league and Noble decided to play a more experienced squad which meant that Joel would not make another appearance during 2006.
Joel started the 2007 season in the Wigan Warriors Senior Academy were he was in good form scoring 5 tries in one match against Hull Kingston Rovers Academy but despite this he was not called up into the first team squad until 18 May 2007 for the super league match against Hull Kingston Rovers. Joel suffered an ankle injury during the match and missed 2 weeks before returning the Senior Academy and later returned to the first team for the match against Catalans Dragons on the 15 June 2007.
On 27 July 2007 the 20 year old back-row forward joined Widnes Vikings, initially on a month's loan with a view to extending the deal to the end of the season. Widnes Head Coach Steve McCormack said "It's a really good signing for the Club. Joel has tremendous ability and experience."
He became a regular first team player for Wigan during the 2008 season. He was a substitute in Wigan's first match of the season against Harlequins RL. He was not included in the Wigan squad for the next two games against Castleford Tigers and Hull Kingston Rovers but returned to the squad as a substitute for the match against Bradford Bulls in which he scored his first try for 2008. Despite a good performance against Bradford he was not included in the squad for the next two super league games his place in the squad was taken by Australian second row Phil Bailey. His next appearance was in the Good Friday derby match against St Helens as a substitute. He kept his place in the squad for 13 consecutive games and he scored two more tries one against Warrington Wolves in super league round 14 and the other against Catalans Dragons in super league round 17.
Tomkins made five consecutive appearances at the start of the 2011 Wigan Warriors season, including the opening fixture against St Helens RLFC and the 2011 World Club Challenge, before being sent-off against Hull FC. He received a two match ban for the incident, with his brother, Sam, also banned for one game. Tomkins returned and scored his first try of the season in Round 8 against Leeds Rhinos. His next tries came against Hull Kingston Rovers and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in Rounds 10 and 12.
Tomkins played at centre for Wigan in the 2011 Challenge Cup final against Leeds Rhinos, scoring a try after brother Sam sent him down the wing. Tomkins fended the Leeds' scrum-half Danny McGuire off and sidestepped past Brent Webb and Carl Ablett to score under the post after an eighty-metre sprint. Wigan won the game 28–18, giving Tomkins his first Challenge Cup honour.
Tomkins has recently switched codes after agreeing a £400,000 a year deal (£120,000 a year really) at Saracens after a £250,000 release fee was agreed with Wigan Warriors.
He was selected to play for England against France in the one-off test in 2010.
Tomkins was born in Warrington. He is a former St. John Fisher player, he played in Wigan's Academy U18s in 2003. He was selected for the 2004 Academy Origin Series. Joel was one of the most highly rated talents in the Wigan Warriors Academy.
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