The final hooter blows on Series 1 of SOM Talks

In episode 6 George Riley talks to a rugby league legend still to hang up his boots England captain Sam Tomkins

Rugby superstar Sam Tomkins has revealed how he’s dealt with a career of online abuse and detailed the plans he has put in place for his retirement from professional sport.

The England international, who won three Grand Finals and two Challenge Cup trophies with Wigan, opens up to host George Riley in the official SOM Talks podcast from leading mental fitness charity State of Mind Sport.

Tomkins, 32, reveals he will end his playing days in France, where he is currently starring for Super League leaders Catalans Dragons, and admits he has learned lessons from players who have failed to plan for their futures, including Great Britain ace Leon Pryce.

“I would like to retire here in France,” he says.
“We are really settled. My two boys are in school, my daughter starts next year and I have another baby boy due this week. My kids are fully engrossed in French life and don’t remember England.
“I know my seasons are limited and I am ready for it whenever it may come. I have seen a lot of people retire and not be ready for it financially, and I listened to your podcast with Leon who didn’t really have his back-up plans.
“I’ve had to have a real think about what I want to do. I’m lucky financially that I have invested in properties which has put me in a decent position. “

In an honest and wide-ranging discussion, Tomkins also reveals how he has dealt with a career of online abuse, but admits seeing his family hurt by it has been upsetting.

“I just think that if someone I don’t know can make a judgement on me as a person from watching me for an hour and a half playing a game. That’s a really strange way of judging someone’s character as a person.
“I’ve had the worst possible things said to me online but I know they’d never say that in the street.
“People wish really bad injuries on me and my mum has struggled with that badly. And that’s bothered me.
““The only thing that has bothered me is when things have been said around my parents. But I say to my mum it’s not real life. You don’t watch Coronation Street and start kicking off with the actors when you see them in the road!”

SOM Talks is the official podcast from award-winning mental health and fitness charity State of Mind Sport.
Hosted by George Riley, each episode explores themes in line with the unprecedented and unique challenges that we are individually and collectively facing right now.

The inaugural series explores Transitions – the mental health challenges associated with major life and career changes.
SOM Talks is available on all major podcast platforms.