Is Tomkins's Barbarians outing flattering or unwelcome?
So is the union interest in league's brightest young star flattering or unwelcome?
Coming so soon after Tomkins committed his future to Wigan in the face of strong interest from union, and after brother Joel did opt to switch codes, the news prompted the inevitable fears that Sam will indeed follow suit before the end of his new contract as league cannot compete financially with union.
Tomkins is adamant that this is not the first step towards him quitting league for union.
The Warriors full-back baulks at suggestions that he is doing it solely for money and in a bid to land a lucrative union contract.
There have also been claims that Tomkins perhaps did a deal with Wigan when he agreed to stay on, allowing him to turn out for the Baa-Baas. I understand such talk was wide of the mark as the 22-year-old only received the call in the week leading up to England's Four Nations final defeat by Australia.
He says the decision to say yes was made quickly, with little knowledge of who the Barbarians were, and with no further thought until after he had fulfilled his league commitments with England.
"This is about me getting the opportunity to play at Twickenham and in a game watched by a wide audience," he says. "For me and for Wigan I can't see any negatives."
The Warriors's official club statement announcing the news highlighted that the club was "keen to confirm" the player's selection.
RFL chairman Nigel Wood labels it "the sincerest form of flattery" and the game's governing body insists it is not concerned that union will pick off any superstars that league breeds.
Chev Walker, Lee Smith and Karl Pryce were not Super League superstars when they quit, tried union and came back. Kyle Eastmond, like Chris Ashton before him, remains unproven. As indeed does Joel Tomkins.
So what do Tomkins's fellow players think? Does his decision to dip his toe into union draw praise or prompt fears from his peers?
England coach Steve McNamara is positive, telling me he was keen for Sam to show union what they were missing, and remind them how good our code is.
Two of Tomkins's England team-mates I spoke to, who played in the final but preferred to remain off the record, told me they would both definitely have said yes had the Baa-Baas come calling.
One did admit he can't blame any player for quitting league for union for the money that is on offer. League can offer only a relatively basic wage in comparison if you are an up and coming star.
Fans' negativity to the news persisted on my Twitter feed this week, with comments ranging from "it's rubbish he's just putting himself in the shop window for Yawnion - not good for league" to "a plea for coverage/attention, nothing more".
League pessimists also fear that if he has a stormer, it is inevitable he will be poached, while if he has a shocker - and he did drop a couple of high-ball clangers against both New Zealand and the Aussies - then that will prompt union fans to mock league.
I don't buy any of this negativity. Tomkins has just committed to league and now has an immediate opportunity to showcase the talents that league fans see every week, although his selection on the wing looks to be a cautious one.
I do wonder whether if this wasn't Sam Tomkins, a star player so heavily linked with union, we would even be having this debate.
Say Rob Burrow was selected to play scrum-half for the Baa-Baas, would we be criticising that call?
Pat Richards, 2010 Man of Steel, sees absolutely no problem with his Wigan team-mate Tomkins playing. "I would play if they asked me and it doesn't mean another league player wanting to switch codes," he told me.
"So long as it didn't interfere with any league commitments, then why not? It is the big stage so go and test yourself," states Warrington great and Wales captain Lee Briers.
"It will be a great experience for Sam and I'm all for it," he says, adding: "Any chance you could have a word and get me a game too?!"
Two stalwarts from St helens - Wigan's fierce rivals - are right behind Tomkins too. "This is good for him and for rugby league," Paul Sculthorpe said. "It will be especially beneficial if he carves it up and has a stormer! I would definitely play, it can only be good for the player's profile, so long as he doesn't have a stinker."
Sculthorpe's former team-mate, another Saints legend Sean Long - himself sampling union with a recent surprise switch to amateurs Preston Grasshoppers -, admitted he would think twice about it but then added: "I think I would play. It is good to play on the big stage whatever the code. It is good exposure and I think he will enjoy it."
Former Great Britain and England centre Keith Senior, however, was - in true fashion - more outspoken, saying: "Why don't the RFL just help promote union even more? It's ridiculous, and delaying the inevitable of him going to union too."
Many fully expect Tomkins to look at switching codes in future but don't think that fire is burning too strong in him right now. So, flattering or unwelcome? Or perhaps even unwelcome flattery? Maybe it is none of the above.
Perhaps both codes could just relax and celebrate some terrific skill.