Fans react to Tompkins' Wales call-up: 'England, what have you done?'
In the weeks building up to the selection, a lot of focus had been on 18-year-old Gloucester winger Louis Rees-Zammit who had surged into contention after being named the Gallagher Premiership player of the month in December.
This is a selection that Wales have flirted with for a while, and Pivac has taken advantage of the Saracens player having a Welsh grandmother. He could fill a major void in the midfield over the next few months.
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This comes as a surprise to many England and Saracens fans, who have thought the Allianz Park academy product was destined to play for England one day.
But despite being a world champion with their under-20s and a former Saxons player, Tompkins was never able to break into Eddie Jones’ team.
As an England fan, gutted Tompkins has been called up. He's a brilliant centre. If/when he gets game time, Wales fans are in for a treat.
— Small Man Peaky (@jonnymango95) January 15, 2020
Nick Tompkins … England what have you done. ?
— Charles Spence (@ChazSpence1) January 15, 2020
Brilliant for Nick ????England may just have made a big mistake!
— Mike (@Gildinio) January 15, 2020
Massive loss for England but a massive gain for Wales. He's some player is Nick!
— Tom Sinden (@TomSinden) January 15, 2020
Many feel this is a missed opportunity and a regrettable mistake by England. Moreover, England’s loss is certainly Wales’ gain in this circumstance, as the centre has all the credentials to play Test rugby.
Tompkins has perhaps fallen victim to the strength in depth England has in the centres, which includes Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi, Henry Slade, Jonathan Joseph and previously Ben Te’o who have been the regulars in the 12 and 13 shirts over the past four years.
Real shame for English rugby that they've missed out on Nick Tompkins. Quality player that could rip it up at international level. https://t.co/Zub5iIceW9
— Sam Limbert (@SamLimbert10) January 15, 2020
Eddie Jones has missed a trick not picking Tompkins sooner. https://t.co/8U4RBuj4Qj
— Patrick Burke (@The_WagonWheel) January 15, 2020
Think England are going to regret not capping Nick Tompkins… Can really see him thriving at the international level for Wales now
— Aaron Homewood (@future_jonny) January 15, 2020
Likewise, the depth at Saracens has meant that Tompkins is not always a guaranteed starter in black, but he is still a hugely admired player nonetheless.
OptaJonny revealed that Tompkins has scored the most tries (15), made the most metres (843) and beaten the most defenders (75) for a centre since the start of the 2018/19 Premiership season, which is why Wales have made a very shrewd acquisition.
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) January 15, 2020
Tompkins is deceptively hard to put down which, alongside some searing lines, explains why he makes so much ground and beats so many players.
Allied with some deft hands and a brilliant offloading game, Saracens fans have struggled to see why there has been no interest in him from England.
Eddie jones do your job.. you've missed out on very good centre.. wot are you looking at..
— Stephen king (@Stephen91314828) January 15, 2020
England were warned 20 months ago but Eddie Jones did nothing. Tompkins will be a 70-80 cap centre for Wales. As a 12 he's better than Farrell, just doesn't kick goals https://t.co/8GvLfBU7OT
— sussexfox (@sussexfox1) January 15, 2020
If true, Jones has missed another one here. Tompkins playing outside Farrell would have been fantastic. Shame for England, excellent for Wales. https://t.co/8LrRle5Z6L
— Alister FULTON (@baldybeardyguy) January 15, 2020
Furthermore, it must have been frustrating for the player himself to see many of his Saracens team-mates, including fellow centre Alex Lozowski, play for England while he has not.
Ultimately, as much as England fans may regret this decision, this is a wise choice from a playing perspective as it allows Tompkins a chance to show what he is capable of on the international stage.
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