Nick Tompkins believes the “invaluable” experience gained from being part of Saracens’ star-studded squad has helped his transition to Test rugby.


Saracens centre Tompkins had a Wales debut to savour in the Guinness Six Nations opener against Italy.

He scored a sparkling solo try after going on as a second-half substitute and was at the heart of Wales’ attacking ambitions in their 42-0 victory.

In doing so, the former England Under-20 and England Saxons player presented a powerful case to make head coach Wayne Pivac’s starting line-up when Wales tackle Ireland next Saturday.

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WATCH: Andy Farrell and Jonathan Sexton spoke to the press following Ireland’s 19-12 win over Scotland at the Aviva Stadium.

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Tompkins, 24, has been one of Saracens’ unsung contributors in recent seasons, shining on domestic and European stages alongside England giants like Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola.

“The experience you get from being at Saracens and being with all those big players is invaluable,” he said.

“Because you come into here (Wales), obviously the standard is a step up, but you are kind of used to the bigger stadiums and the big occasions.

Tompkins call-up

Saracens’ Nick Tompkins is a surprise 2020 Wales call-up (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)


“And you get a lot of insight into how those players work, so when you come here you have got the same type of players who work in the same professional way, so it’s easier to slot in. It just helps.

“I was really anxious coming into a new squad with new guys and everything like that, but the coaches have been brilliant, the players have been brilliant.

“And I’m not just saying that. They are really accepting, they are proper good lads and they have taken me under their wing.”

Tompkins, who qualifies for Wales through his Wrexham-born maternal grandmother, had a brief run during the first half, replacing wing Johnny McNicholl while he underwent a head injury assessment before rejoining the action.

“You watch, and I’m flying around, but I am missing tackles,” he added.

“I calmed down, sat on the bench and said ‘OK, that’s the level, you’re OK, you can do it’. It was a blessing in disguise.”

And when Tompkins returned, going on for Hadleigh Parkes 13 minutes after half-time, he made a major impact that was highlighted by his weaving 40-metre run and brilliant finish.

“That was for my gran – she is the reason I am here,” said Tompkins, of his passionate try celebration.

“That celebration was emotion and probably a bit of anxiety and relief all together. It was one of those I will never forget.

“I got emotional before the anthem, but I pulled myself together.

“I was a wreck (on Saturday morning). But I made a point to not put my headphones in and to enjoy the bus ride in, seeing everyone, the choir. I wanted to enjoy every aspect, every bit of it.”

And as for a possible start in Dublin, he added: “I don’t know. That’s up to Wayne. Whatever role I am in, I am going to help contribute and get this team to where we need to be.

“We are all hungry. It’s a new challenge with the new coaches and stuff. We are all heading in the right direction.

“The attitude is brilliant – the players we’ve got, good leaders who are going to keep us on the right track. So I think if we stay hungry and keep improving, keep wanting to improve, we’ll be alright.”

Press Association

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