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“32 man squads” – Sam Tomkins demands Super League rule change

Sam Tomkins working for Sky Sports as a Pundit

Former Wigan Warriors and Catalans Dragons fullback Sam Tomkins has suggested a change that could revolutionise Super League and the sport of rugby league.

Tomkins, after winning three Grand Finals and two Challenge Cups, retired last year, with his final game being a loss to his former club in the 2023 Grand Final.

Since then, he has been working with Sky Sports as a pundit.

The two-time Man of Steel, speaking on The Bench with Jenna and Jon, a Sky Sports podcast with Jenna Brooks and Jon Wilkin, was asked to name something he wanted to see less of in the sport.

He responded: “Restricted number of substitutions. I can’t see the benefit in having four subs.

“So not just four blokes and a limited number. I think you should be able to, if you’ve got 32 players fit, get them all kitted up and let them sit in the stand.”

His reasoning seemed to be that it could reduce the impact of injuries on the spectacle and outcome of matches.

He continued: “If you lose a halfback after two minutes, rather than a game getting lost or won and someone saying, ‘oh, but they lost two wingers in the first half’, bring someone else on.

“If you lose a halfback after five minutes and one team is losing, they go, ‘oh, they only have one half’.

“Well, if you lose a halfback, go right, bring that next half.”

Jenna Brooks likened it to teams bringing a ‘second string’ like in the NFL, and Sam Tomkins agreed:

“Exactly. We want the best product possible.

“To have that, you want fresh people on the field as much as you possibly can.”

Sam Tomkins’ punditry

Sam Tomkins working for Sky Sports as a Pundit

Credit: Imago Images

The former England captain was a surprise pick for many to become a Sky Sports pundit this year, but he’s dived in head-first to making plenty of big calls.

Recently, he spoke on clubs he felt were under-performing based on salary spend: “I think fans of both Leeds and Warrington should expect them to be better than they are. They should be better than they are. They’re spending more than St Helens and they’re spending more than other teams that are more convincing certainly over the last in recent years.

“Leeds haven’t made the top six in the last few years. I think if you’re a fan of either of those clubs and looking at what they spend you’d expect much much more.”

He also caused a stir when naming his former team-mate, Catalans’ Michael McIlorum, as the best hooker in Super League.

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