Get all of the last minute details and then watch the game from London live.
Where: Twickenham, London
When: 13.30 (GMT)
Watch live: Click here to watch on NowTV from Sky!
“England’s Tomkins” is a phrase that threatens to be heard a lot on Saturday when Joel makes his rugby union Test debut against Australia at Twickenham while younger brother Sam represents the country in a rugby league World Cup match against Ireland.
But for Joel, now on the verge of following fellow ex-Wigan star Chris Ashton in becoming a dual code international, the chance of playing in front of an 80,000 crowd at Twickenham and the lure of the 2015 rugby union World Cup — a higher-profile event than its league counterpart — in England in two years’ time mean he has no regrets about his change of sport.
“This was always a massive goal for me, probably the biggest goal and the biggest factor in coming over to rugby union,” Saracens centre Tomkins said.
“I wanted to play international rugby and I wanted to play at Twickenham, in front of 80,000.
“Then, ultimately, I want to play in the World Cup. The World Cup is definitely a big goal of mine,” added Tomkins, who will partner Gloucester’s Billy Twelvetrees in midfield after injuries deprived England coach Stuart Lancaster of Manu Tuilagi and Brad Barritt.
“I’ve played in a couple of finals for Wigan and played international rugby league. I can draw on those experiences.
“Saturday’s going to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, crowd I’ve ever played in front of, but I see it as exciting.”
It is now two years since Tomkins changed codes but for much of the 26-year-old’s early life league was the only game that mattered.
“As a kid growing up in Wigan there’s no other sport other than rugby league. You just grow up with a certain passion to play the sport,” Tomkins said.
“On Friday nights when Wigan are at home the whole town stops and everyone goes to the game.
“As kids that’s what you want to do, there are no other distractions really. No-one wants to be a footballer, everyone just wants to play rugby.
“Then, as you get a bit older, your skills become a bit more transferable to rugby union and there are definitely other opportunities in union — the international game, the European game.
“Chris (Ashton) moving over to union gave me a bigger interest in it and I’ve followed it since then really.
“It was quite a last-minute thing, at the end of the 2011 season.”
Sam Tomkins recently agreed a much-talked about move to the New Zealand Warriors, who play in Australia’s National Rugby League competition, and Joel said his brother had enough to worry about without ongoing speculation as to whether he too would follow a well-trodden path in the professional era by switching from league to union.
“Sam’s always been a bit special, even as a kid. He’s always been the smallest bloke on the pitch, who could do something special,” Joel said.
“I definitely hope for the next few years everybody can just let him be in New Zealand to do the best he can because he has got a massive challenge ahead of him.”
Teams for the Cook Cup international between England and Australia at Twickenham on Saturday
Mike Brown; Chris Ashton, Joel Tomkins, Billy Twelvetrees, Marland Yarde; Owen Farrell, Lee Dickson; Billy Vunipola, Chris Robshaw (capt), Tom Wood; Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury; Dan Cole, Tom Youngs, Mako Vunipola
Replacements: Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler, David Wilson, Dave Attwood, Ben Morgan, Ben Youngs, Toby Flood, Ben Foden
Israel Folau; Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Nick Cummims; Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Ben Mowen (capt), Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy; James Horwill, Sitaleki Timani; Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, James Slipper
Replacements: Saia Fainga’a, Benn Robinson, Sekope Kepu, Kane Douglas, Ben McCalman, Nic White, Christian Leali’ifano, Bernard Foley
Referee: George Clancy (IRL)
Head-to-head record between England and Australia ahead of their Cook Cup international at Twickenham on Saturday:
England wins: 16
Australia wins: 24
Highest Scores: England 35-18, 2010; Australia 76-0, 1998
Biggest Wins: England 20-3, 1973, 23-6, 1976 and 35-18, 2010; Australia 76-0, 1998
Last five results
2012 Twickenham: AUS 20-14
2010 Twickenham: ENG 35-18
2010 Sydney: ENG 21-20
2010 Perth: AUS 27-17
2009 Twickenham: AUS 18-9