Challenge Cup final: Sam Tomkins ignoring Wigan departure rumours

Challenge Cup final: Hull FC v Wigan Warriors

  • Venue: Wembley
  • Date: Saturday, 24 August
  • Kick-off: 15:00 BST

Coverage: Live coverage on BBC One HD (14:15-17:15) and BBC Sport website, live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Manchester & BBC Radio Humberside

Wigan full-back Sam Tomkins is putting speculation about his future to one side as he prepares for Saturday's Challenge Cup final against Hull FC.

The England star has again been linked with moves to rugby union and Australia's NRL in recent weeks.

But the 24-year-old says he is ignoring rumours of his possible departure.

"All I've been thinking about is Wigan, the Challenge Cup, the Grand Final and the World Cup at the end of the year," Tomkins told BBC Radio Manchester.

Cup final a Tomkins family affair

Joel and Sam Tomkins

Sam Tomkins played alongside older brother Joel the last time Wigan lifted the Challenge Cup, beating Leeds Rhinos at Wembley in 2011.

Joel now plays rugby union for Saracens, but younger brother Logan is expected to join Sam in the Warriors squad for Saturday's final.

"I'm pretty busy with my rugby at the moment, certainly too busy to be concentrating on anything else, I'm firmly concentrating on this Saturday first of all."

Super League's reigning Man of Steel, who was the subject of a failed bid from ambitious Salford City Reds in February, has been constantly linked with NRL clubs or a switch of codes - a decision his older brother Joel made in 2011 - since making his breakthrough at Wigan.

He revealed in his newspaper column last year that a future switch to Australia would appeal to him, but for now Tomkins is determined to ensure Wigan finish the 2013 season with some silverware.

A run of five defeats in their last seven Super League matches has ended any hope of retaining the League Leaders' Shield they won in 2012, but the prospect of lifting the Challenge Cup for the second time in three years awaits if Shaun Wane's side beat Hull at Wembley.

"We're third in the league and we're going to the Challenge Cup final - terrible times," joked Tomkins, who is England's all-time leading try scorer and has crossed 143 times in 146 games for the Warriors since his debut in 2008. 

"It's not like we've been performing terribly badly. We've had some tough games and a couple of blips, but that happens.

"No one goes through a year playing brilliantly every week. If anything, it means we're due a top performance."

Emotional Wane wants win for father

Warriors coach Wane was a Wigan player when the Cherry and Whites defeated Hull in a classic 1985 Challenge Cup encounter.

It was the last time the two sides met in the final, although an injury prevented Wane from featuring on that day.

Having been assistant to Michael Maguire when Wigan last lifted the trophy at Wembley in 2011, he will lead his home-town club into rugby league's showpiece occasion for the first time.

And it will be an emotional moment for the 48-year-old, the game coming just months after the death of his father.

"He was a big fan and a big supporter of me and my career," said Wane. "He saw me coaching my home-town club and we had some great wins. He was very proud, so [to win on Saturday] would be fantastic."