Rugby League World Cup: Sam Tomkins has praised England's preparations
Full-back Sam Tomkins insists England are in the best possible shape to make an impact in the World Cup.
Last Updated: 15/10/13 7:03am
With the tournament kick-off just 11 days away, national coach Steve McNamara was on Tuesday wrapping up the squad's high-altitude training camp in South Africa and Tomkins hailed it as a tremendous success.
"Everyone is enjoying it," the 2012 Man of Steel said. "Getting a bit of sun on our backs is nice.
"But the training has been intense and I think everyone has got a lot from it.
"The facilities here are world class and I think we're very fortunate. We've everything we need, this is the best preparation we could possibly have."
McNamara will finalise his side's preparations for their opening group game with favourites Australia, who are due to arrive in Manchester on Tuesday morning, with a warm-up game against Italy at Salford on Saturday.
He will cast his eye over all but two members of his 24-strong squad - the suspended Ben Westwood and injured Sean O'Loughlin are the only absentees - and Tomkins says he has never known such competition for places.
"It's definitely the most competitive I've ever seen," he said. "Every position is up for grabs and you can see the intensity picking up as the camp draws to a close.
"This is probably the best England team I've been involved in. We've got bags of potential and, if everyone can perform to their potential, I think we can do something special.
"The preparation over the last few years has been building up to the World Cup, with the England Knights and the ETS (elite training squad), and everything has clicked into place to get us into the best possible shape.
"To win the World Cup would mean absolutely everything to me. I've been lucky enough to win trophies with Wigan but I would certainly swap them to win the World Cup."
Tomkins played alongside older brother Joel for England in the 2010 Four Nations Series and he is hoping to be on the same pitch as younger sibling Logan at Salford on Saturday.
Sam is likely to get some game time against Italy while Logan has been called into the England Knights squad for the friendly with Samoa, which will be played as a curtain raiser.
"I'm over the moon with Logan's selection," said Sam. "He's worked really hard this year and played quite a number of games so to get this call-up for the Knights is huge for him.
"He's still very young and he's only going to get better. For him to hopefully get a taste of it this week will put him in good stead for the future."