Saracens centre Joel Tomkins wants England union caps

Saracens centre Joel Tomkins says he wants to break into the England rugby union squad, following his switch from rugby league.

Tomkins, who has three international league caps, left Wigan Warriors after a six-year spell to cross codes earlier this month.

"Playing for England is definitely a long-term goal. It's a long way away and a lot of hard work," he said.

"I've come to rugby union to test myself and see how far I can go."

He added: "First things first, I've got to knuckle down and put some hard work in.

"The short-term goals are to get into training with the lads and see if I can work my way into this Saracens team."

Numerous players have had successful England careers after walking away from league.

Tomkins' fellow ex-Warrior Chris Ashton has amassed 18 caps on the wing since joining Northampton four years ago.

Jason Robinson, himself a Wigan winger in his league days, featured 51 times for his country in union while Andy Farrell, now a Saracens coach, collected a handful of international caps.

But Tomkins has issued caution after his own switch. "There have been quite a few that have been unsuccessful as well," he said.

"So I'm under no illusions. I know there's a lot of hard work and I'm coming into a completely different sport with a completely different set of rules.

"The only similarity is the ball on the pitch. I'm relishing the challenge and I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into it."

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