Sam Tomkins insists England can cope without injured skipper Sean O’Loughlin in Sunday’s crucial second test against New Zealand at Anfield.
O’Loughlin limped out of Saturday’s opening win in Hull after just 14 minutes with a calf complaint that has not healed sufficiently.
His replacement as skipper and in the side will be confirmed on Thursday, and club-mate Tomkins says that although his loss is considerable, England are well placed to adapt.
Tomkins said: “You can replace him, but you won’t get exactly the same.
“Lockers is one of our best players without doubt – he’s the best player every time he pulls the jersey on for Wigan. When he plays for England he performs at a high standard. You know you’re going to get a minimum of an eight out of 10 – he plays well or really well, and i’s a luxury to have someone like that in your squad.
“He will be missed this week but it will give someone else an opportunity to come in and make an impact. With the strength of the squad, no one is going to come in and be a weak link.
“We know we can win without him – we’re certainly not that dependent on him. It would just be nice if he was on for 80 minutes. It doesn’t always work out like that and at the weekend we’ll have a plan to play without him.”
Tomkins himself made a try-scoring return against the Kiwis at weekend in his first appearance in an England shirt for four years.
The Catalans-bound 29-year-old had to miss HIS OWN stag-do in Hamburg to link up with Wayne Bennett’s squad — a sacrifice he had no hesitation in making.
Tomkins added: “All my friends had booked time off work, so I needed to book it two months ago. Pre-season starts the end of November so I couldn’t book it any other time.
“It was a win-win because if I didn’t play for England, I’m on my stag do – if I’m not on my stag do, I’m playing for England. The rest of them enjoyed it, they didn’t miss me. I think after 10 pints you forget whose round it is anyway.”
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