Andy Farrell is backing Joel Tomkins to shine in England's autumn internationals
Coach Andy Farrell is backing Joel Tomkins to prove his worth in Stuart Lancaster's Autumn Internationals squad.
Last Updated: 17/10/13 11:31am
England backs coach Andy Farrell knows all about changing codes and worked with Tomkins during his time as Saracens first team coach - and believes the player's ability to adapt so readily has paid dividends.
He told Sky Sports News've been super impressed with Joel. It's very difficult. It is different, there's no doubt about that. The ability to be able to get your hands the ball in League is quite easy. You set things up and you know where the ball is going to be.
"In Union it is not quite so easy. Therefore you can get frustrated at times and think that people are going to judge your game just on carying the ball.
"Where Joel has made great strides over the last years or so is that he has learnt all aspects of centre play whether it be the attacking and defensive breakdown.
"Decision making is crucial for any type of centre; his lines of running will be completely different in Union to League because in League you go back 10 metres so he has had a lot to learn and he's adapted very quickly."
Tomkins made his breakthrough for Saracens last season after switching codes in 2011. He played 29 times and has played in three out of five of Saracens wins so far this season, scoring one try in their win over Gloucester.
Brad Barritt, Manu Tuilagi and Anthony Allen have all been ruled out for England through injury and the uncapped Henry Trinder and Luther Burrell have been called into the squad along with Tomkins; Farrell hopes the trio can seize their chance.
"It creates an opportunity for the guys coming in," he said. "We'll see over the next couple of weeks who will put their front foot foward and put their hand up for a Test spot. That's going to be exciting for us.
"There will be periods over the next two years building up to the next World Cup where people are down and injured and you have got to give these people the chance to prove they can perform at the top level of international football."
You can watch the first of England's autumn internationals against Australia on Sky Sports 2 on 2 November at 13.30