Tomkins hat trick crushes Wales

Sam Tomkins inspired England to a nine-try victory at Brewery Field as new Wales coach Iestyn Harris launched his international coaching career with a 48-12 defeat.

England were indebted to Tomkins' ambition and inventiveness on a night when they struggled for fluency.

He claimed a hat-trick of touchdowns, helping to guarantee the win coach Tony Smith wanted ahead of a demanding Four Nations campaign when England contest silverware with Australia, New Zealand and France.

But much of their rugby proved stilted and one-paced as Smith fielded a team without Leeds Rhinos or St Helens players following last weekend's engage Super League Grand Final.

Only during the closing quarter, when Wales ran out of steam, did England hammer home any true supremacy.

Tomkins (three), Tom Briscoe (two), Sean O'Loughlin, Adrian Morley, Sam Burgess and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook all breached the Welsh defence, while full-back Paul Sykes added six goals.

It was only 20-12 approaching the hour, yet England's superior fitness took a hefty toll as the clock ticked down.

For his part, Harris will feel encouraged going into a European Cup campaign that sees Wales grouped alongside Ireland and Serbia.

Craig Kopczak and Ian Watson scored tries, with Lloyd White kicking two goals, and Harris certainly has some exciting new potential to work on.

But England were inevitably too strong, with Tomkins deservedly named man of the match.

Ben Flower captained Wales for the first time just two days before his 22nd birthday as the home side looked to erase memories of a 74-0 drubbing by England last year.

Tomkins and Hull FC wing Briscoe made their Test debuts, but an experienced edge was provided by the likes of Morley and Sean O'Loughlin.

Wales though, struck the opening blow, going ahead from their first attack when Kopczak powered over in the corner.

Despite Tomkins quickly wiping out the advantage when he capitalised on a Welsh defensive fumble, England struggled for early continuity against opponents readily prepared to contest all areas.

But Tomkins, one of the British game's brightest young talents, came up trumps again for his team in the 20th minute when an arcing run and emphatic finish left Wales floundering.

Sykes kicked his first goal and then added the extras when McCarthy-Scarsbrook claimed England's third try just two minutes after joining the action.

It was a largely erratic display by England and Wales ended a low-key half with the final say when White landed a long-range penalty.

And with England still struggling for consistency, Wales took advantage as Watson crashed over for their second try, with White adding the angled goal.

England, chiefly through Tomkins, looked to put pace and power on their game, yet those ambitions were thwarted by a combination of poor handling and spirited Welsh defence.

They cracked open Wales for a fifth time though, after 57 minutes, when Briscoe went in at the corner, then O'Loughlin capitalised on a kick into space for a sixth touchdown.

And the closing stages simply came down to whether England would hit the half-century or not, but they ended two points short after their final attack was denied the try it deserved through a poor pass.


ENGLAND LIONS 48
Tries: Sam Tomkins 3, Tom Briscoe 2, Louise McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Sam Burgess, Sean O'Loughlin, Adrian Morley
Goals: Paul Sykes 6
DEFEATED WALES DRAGONS 12
Tries: Craig Kopczak, Ian Watson
Goals: Lloyd White
at Brewery Field, Bridgend