England 42-4 Wales
Venue: Leigh Sports Village
Tomkins shines in England victory
Sam Tomkins scored a tournament record-equalling four tries but England made an unconvincing start to their Gillette Four Nations campaign in a 42-4 win against Wales at the Leigh Sports Village.
The Wigan Warriors full-back sparkled on a gloomy afternoon to light up an otherwise drab display which will do little to inspire hopes of a victory over Australia at Wembley in England's next match.
Tomkins, Engage Super League's leading tryscorer in 2011, does not do things in half measures.
He scored a hat-trick on his debut against Wales in Bridgend two years ago, grabbed four tries against France last season and on his 10th appearance today gave England a dream start with two touchdowns in the first 15 minutes.
It was all too easy for England against a side containing eight part-timers but coach Steve McNamara will be looking for a big improvement when they take on the Kangaroos next Saturday.
The game began disastrously for Wales, with experienced forward Jordan James knocked out cold in the first tackle of the match by England second rower Ben Westwood.
It robbed coach Iestyn Harris of a key man and severely reduced his interchange options, which proved decisive as the Welsh naturally faded towards the end.
England got possession from that opening tackle and duly opened the scoring when Tomkins took Rangi Chase's pass to cross for his first try.
When the Wigan favourite took a pass from Kevin Sinfield to slice through the Welsh defence for a second on 15 minutes, it look routine for McNamara's team.
But, inspired by captain Lee Briers, the Welsh played with spirit to keep England in check and test their defence.
The veteran stand-off gave his side a perfect attacking position with a 40-20 kick and replacement forward Craig Kopczak came up with a clean break but Wales lacked the composure and class to make the pressure pay.
Their best scoring opportunity came through Warrington Wolves winger Rhys Williams, one of eight Super League players in the side, but Ryan Hall showed his defensive mettle to bundle him into touch.
England extended their lead to 14-0 by half-time when half-backs Chase and Sinfield produced some delightful passes to get centre Kirk Yeaman over for a try try but the 10,377 crowd had to wait another 28 minutes for the next score.
Second rower Gareth Ellis began punching holes through the heart of the Welsh defence and it was from his clean break that Tomkins completed his hat-trick on 49 minutes, which secured him the man-of-the-match award.
Jack Reed then took Westwood's pass to storm over for his second try in as many matches and Tomkins grabbed his fourth after Briers' speculative drop-out failed to go the required 10 metres.
Wales never gave up and gained some consolation on 66 minutes when winger Elliott Kear made full use of an overlap to score at the corner.
McNamara took the opportunity to rest hooker James Roby and in his absence Gareth Widdop produced an impressive cameo performance, breaking clear to get loose forward Chris Heighington over for his first try before scoring England's eighth try from from Hall's interception.
Sinfield kicked his fifth goal from eight attempts to wrap up the scoring.