Rugby League star Sam Tomkins is set to play for the Barbarians against the Wallabies at Twickenham on Saturday in a one-off union appearance.
His cross-code move is expected to be confirmed on Monday, provided the 22-year-old is given the all-clear after his exertions for England in Saturday’s Four Nations final against Australia.
If so, Tomkins will be part of a 23-man Barbarians squad who will be coached by New Zealand’s Graham Henry and expected to include four or five members of the All Blacks’ World Cup-winning team. Danny Cipriani is also set to make his first major appearance in England following his move to the Melbourne Rebels.
Tomkins, who will become the first contracted rugby league player to play for the Barbarians, said: ‘I’ve been given an opportunity to play that I think I’m going to take. I’ll see how my body pulls up, but it’s something I’m interested in.’
His appearance will increase speculation that he will eventually follow his brother, Saracens centre Joel, into union, but any move will have to happen a long way down the line.
Two weeks ago, Sam signed a new deal with Wigan until 2016 and the Warriors inserted a ‘hands off’ clause in his contract, meaning he cannot consider rival offers from union clubs or Australian NRL sides for at least three years.
Tomkins has been compared to Jason Robinson, who made a successful transition and was part of England’s triumphant 2003 World Cup team.
The Barbarians also hope to include Wales fly-half Stephen Jones, who looks to have finished his international career on 104 caps.
Jones was left out of the national squad to face Australia on Saturday week in Cardiff and is now expected to be released by Scarlets to play at Twickenham.