Former England centre Will Greenwood has said that Wales centre Nick Tompkins would make the British and Irish Lions tour if it were this summer.

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This came after the former Rugby World Cup winner selected the 25-year-old in his team of the Six Nations, describing the four-cap international as “off the charts” on his Sky Sports podcast.

The Saracens centre was relatively unknown in Wales when he was selected for Wayne Pivac’s squad in January, but has taken his opportunity on the Test stage with both hands. A try-scoring debut off the bench against Italy in round one of the tournament earned him a starting berth in the next three rounds, where he has gone from strength to strength.

While he may not boast the frame of the likes of Manu Tuilagi or Virimi Vakatawa, he has nonetheless managed to make the most carries and beat the most defenders in the Championship. Although most comfortable at inside centre, he has taken to the No.13 shirt with aplomb this year, bringing his tenacious carrying to the outside channels.

Greenwood also noted the interception he threw against France for Romain Ntamack’s try, which was ultimately a gamble that paid off for the Frenchman. Elsewhere in that match, the Saracen was Wales’ most potent runner in the backline, and produced a number of probing kicks into the French backfield. He also came close to salvaging a win for Wales in the last play of the game.

The vision Tompkins showed a week later for Justin Tipuric’s iconic try at Twickenham was yet another glimpse of what he can offer in red, and why many Englishmen will be rueing how the former England under-20 world champion managed to getaway. In what looked to be a considerable hole left by the absent Jonathan Davies before the tournament, Tompkins has now created serious competition for the shirt upon the 31-year-old’s return.

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So many Lions competitors have had truncated Six Nations campaigns, or none at all, due to injury, such as Davies, Garry Ringrose and Tuilagi. Therefore it is hard to argue with Greenwood that Tompkins has probably made the best account of himself this year and would be worthy of a place in Warren Gatland’s Lions squad if the tour of South Africa was this summer. Of course, with over a year to go, Tompkins can now have that in his sights, as he looks to have established himself in the Wales squad.

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