Andrew Baldock

Wales centre Nick Tompkins says he can empathise with rugby fans’ frustration over an abundance of kicking and apparent attacking paucity pervading the game.

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The current Autumn Nations Cup tournament has proved a damp squib in terms of entertainment value.

There was precious little of it on show at Parc y Scarlets as England ground out a 24-13 victory over Wales to book a Nations Cup final appointment with France next weekend.

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Wales inside centre Johnny Williams has urged fans to be patient following the 24-13 loss to England.

Kicking again dominated, while both sides struggled to make an impact in attack, and it was often tedious to watch.

“I would say that I totally understand where they (fans) are coming from,” Tompkins said.

“Myself, I want to attack and get ball in hand and pass and play, but at the end of the day we are playing Test rugby to win.

“We do that however we can do it, and sometimes maybe the rules shift and this happens. It ebbs and flows. We have to adapt.

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“I understand exactly where that argument comes from because I have felt it sometimes myself.

“I believe the rules that have come in around the breakdown have made it a lot harder to attack.

“How the rules are and how quick referees are to give penalties away for holding on, you want to kick the ball away a bit more and put a team under pressure.

“You could argue that, or just say we have to get better at what we do in terms of retaining possession. It’s a combination of a couple of things.
“We have to keep looking at these rules and making decisions to make sure everything is fluid, and we should be able to change things. Just as much as we bring them in, we should be able to take them out.

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“It is frustrating from a backs’ point of view, but you have to adapt and move.”

Wales’ latest defeat was a seventh in nine Tests under head coach Wayne Pivac, although it proved their best performance since running England close at Twickenham eight months ago.

They wind up the Nations Cup campaign with a home play-off against Italy next weekend, and Tompkins added: “We’ve got to take the positives out of the performance and can keep getting better, like we are.

“It sometimes feels we shoot ourselves in the foot and our mistakes are our undoing, but if we look at the positives, we are in these games.

“It’s going to come. If we keep chipping away, the rock will crack. We just have to keep pounding at it.”

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