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'Surreal' - Tompkins describes prospect of facing former England teammates

By Online Editors
(Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

England Under-20 World Cup winner Nick Tompkins will run out at Twickenham in the red shirt of Wales on Saturday and admits it is a surreal prospect.

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Six years after helping England’s young guns achieve global glory, he now faces potentially the toughest test of a fledgling senior international career.

Sidcup-born centre Tompkins – he qualifies for Wales via his maternal grandmother, who hailed from Wrexham – will oppose six of his Saracens team-mates in England’s matchday 23 on Saturday.

It will be only the 25-year-old’s fourth Wales appearance, yet he has already shown enough glimpses to suggest new head coach Wayne Pivac might have unearthed a gem.

And the Tompkins family will be out in force as Wales target a first Six Nations away victory over England since 2012.

“Dad has to wear the red jersey or else he can’t come!” Tompkins said.

“They are all coming, yeah. All my friends. Loads of people wanted tickets.

“I think you can get more than two or three (tickets), but then you start having to pay. It starts racking up. I don’t love them that much!

“It does feel surreal (playing against England) and I suppose it’s not going to kick in until I am really there.”

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Saracens colleagues Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje – Tompkins’ England Under-20 captain – Elliot Daly, Jamie George, George Kruis and Ben Earl will all be out to ruin his day.

But Tompkins has now joined an exclusive club of modern-day Saracens international players, even if it might have taken him a little bit longer than some of England’s established names.

“I would say that was one of the hardest things I had to go through,” he added.

“You see all these guys, they make it. The opportunities they’ve had, they’ve taken them.

“You question why you are not getting the opportunities, but I think it clicked later on that there were things I needed to do and I wasn’t doing them.

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“I was probably blaming other people, making up excuses for why I wasn’t doing what I (should have been) doing.

“I started taking control, doing it right. It is tough as a young kid being at a good club with players like Brad (Barritt) and Duncan (Taylor), who are so good.

“You have to be patient, and I realise looking back that everybody has got their own path. I wasn’t ready then. I am ready now, but I don’t know if I would have been ready if I had been thrust in (to Test rugby) at 22 or 23.

“I want to show people why I am here. I want them to see that, ‘yes, he deserves to be here’.”

Tompkins made a try-scoring debut off the bench against Italy last month and although he endured a testing afternoon in defeat to Ireland a week later, he then excelled in Wales’ thrilling encounter with France.

“The standard of rugby is obviously a little bit higher, but the biggest thing for me is the hype around it,” he said.

“The stuff that is not to do with rugby. The pressure, things like that. It’s something that you just learn and get used to.”

And asked if he had felt an extra edge to Wales training this week, a laughing Tompkins joked: “Yeah. There’s a lot of hatred for the English!

“I’m a lover, not a fighter, but you can feel the anticipation, you feel a bit of edge, which is great.”

– Press Association

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M
Morne 10 hours ago
Thanks but no thanks, the All Blacks do not need to copy the Boks

Some further observations: Most Rugby lovers I know agree that the AB’s have been the gold standard for as long as anyone can remember - very few people disagree. The odd time that any other team has some sort of ascendency - there are always those (albeit the minority) NZ supporters that need to remind us of the AB’s glorious gold standard that anyone winning them is only down to a mixture of pure luck or some or other sinister reason or bias from match officials (or indeed the Universe). For reasons mentioned above, any other team with some ascendency over the AB’s (even if it is the 1st time in 100 years) may not receive a pat on the back and a well-done - as they only did so out of pure luck. In my opinion, if the Boks were in the same realm as the AB’s SF opponents - they would have been smashed also - whether with 14 or 13 or 12 players. But remember they were just “lucky”. As a Bok supporter, I will say this team has done our proud - despite losing some games along the way. Like the AB’s, the games the boks lose are 9/10 times one score games - this is a long way from hidings like 57 - 0…And in that we must be proud. Most of these type of articles - especially those focusing on the RWC final rather conveniently leave out any mention of Pieter Steph du Toit, or even Eben Etzebeth who won all their collusions all day long. So to those very very few bad loser AB supporters out there (definitely the minority) - I’ll say what you want to hear - the AB’s are without any doubt the best Rugby brand ever. They have consistently achieved what all other teams can only dream of. And no doubt they will scale those heights again. Now what about allowing others the odd ray of sunlight that comes our way?

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