England can be best under Benny: Tomkins

Others may need convincing but fullback Sam Tomkins already believes new England coach Wayne Bennett is the right man to end more than 40 years of heartbreak for UK rugby league fans.

Some UK Super League coaches have not helped their chances of earning an assistant nod from Bennett after slamming the master mentor’s two-year England appointment.

But Wigan superstar Tomkins has made a good impression, saying Bennett is the best chance for the UK to taste World Cup glory for the first time since 1972.

Only as part of three-time winners Great Britain have England tasted World Cup title success.

They last won it 44 years ago.

England alone have never savoured a Cup triumph and last made a final in 1995.

Tomkins, who returned to Wigan this year after two NRL seasons at the Warriors, said the world No.3 England could make the jump to greatness under Bennett.

“The gap between us, Australia and New Zealand is smaller than ever,” Tomkins told BBC Sport.

“His experience will help us.

“Becoming the world’s leading side is the target.”

Bennett is set to name a UK-based assistant in a bid to juggle England duties with his NRL coaching role at Brisbane through the 2016 Four Nations and 2017 World Cup.

However, it seems some have not helped their chances after criticising Bennett’s replacement of England incumbent, homegrown coach Steve McNamara.

McNamara’s contract was not renewed despite England downing world No.1 New Zealand 2-1 in late 2015 – their first series win in eight years.

Castleford’s Daryl Powell, Wigan’s Shaun Wane, St Helens’ Keiron Cunningham and Super League title-winning Leeds’ Brian McDermott were considered contenders.

However, Powell and Cunningham have made their displeasure about Bennett’s ascension clear, saying McDermott should have got the England nod.

McDermott faced a potential stumbling block after being appointed United States coach and guiding them to 2017 World Cup qualification.

But Tomkins appeared keen to stay on Bennett’s good side as he tried to snatch back the England No.1 jumper from Leeds incumbent Zak Hardaker, Super League’s reigning Man of Steel.

“We’ve had the potential and players to become the world’s No.1 side but we’ve not quite performed,” Tomkins said.

“Wayne Bennett is a big signing.

“He’s got all the experience in the world so there’s no reason he can’t bring that to us and push us on.”

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