England's Sam Tomkins ruled out of New Zealand series

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Sam Tomkins injury a big blow for England - Steve McNamara
First Test - England v New Zealand
Date: Sunday, 1 November Kick-off: 17:00 GMT; Venue: KC Stadium, Hull
Coverage: Live on BBC Two and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app

England full-back Sam Tomkins has been ruled out of the three-Test series against New Zealand after failing to recover from a knee injury that has kept him out of the game since August.

The 26-year-old, who will rejoin Wigan for the 2016 season after homesickness ended his two-year stint with the NRL's New Zealand Warriors, will not be replaced in the England squad.

"It is a great shame but it wasn't to be" said coach Steve McNamara.

"Sam is devastated to miss out."

Sam Tomkins on Twitter

Leeds full-back Zak Hardaker, who won the 2015 Man of Steel award after a superb season for the Rhinos, is likely to keep his place in the England side for the first Test against the Kiwis at Hull's KC Stadium on Sunday.

McNamara had given an upbeat update on Tomkins' fitness on Wednesday, saying that he was in full training despite missing the side's 84-4 weekend trouncing of France in a warm-up match in Leigh.

But, rather than return to international action, Tomkins will instead have his injury reassessed and focus on a return to full fitness ahead of Wigan's opening match of the 2016 Super League season against Catalan Dragons on 5 February.

Tomkins has played just 13 matches in 2015 after his series of injuries and the upheaval caused by his early release from his New Zealand Warriors contract.

England and New Zealand will also meet at the London Olympic Stadium on Saturday 7 November and Wigan's DW Stadium on Saturday 14 November.

Sam Tomkins playing for NZ Warriors
Tomkins cost the New Zealand Warriors a reported world record £700,000 when he joined from Wigan in 2013

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