Tompkins admits he went 'stale' at Dragons due to lack of competition
Tompkins took up a short-term loan contract with the Dragons after Saracens were automatically relegated to the RFU Championship, but the 26-year-old returned to London earlier this year to help win their promotion back to the Gallagher Premiership.
Tompkins played 14 times for the region, making 9 starts before returning to Sarries. Now Tompkins admits that he went ‘stale’ at the PRO14 side, claiming that a lack of competition in Newport made him lower his own standards at training.
“You’re always going to have challenges and competition and you need it really because otherwise you go stale,” said Tompkins. “I found that out at times at the Dragons and there were times when I could have pushed myself harder in training and I didn’t.
“I went back to Saracens and there are Lions all around you pushing you and you see the difference. The difference between my performances is night and day. You need that push and competition and I love it.”
Tompkins said that affected his form for the national side, for whom he has now amassed a total of 10 caps. He says he regrets not making more of an impact at Dragons, who have made significant strides under head coach Dean Ryan.
“I wish I’d played better for Dragons and definitely coming back for Wales after Covid, it was a bit of a stumbling block.
“It’s one of those things that happens in life and it’s peaks and troughs. It’s been tough, really rough, and there have been moments when you question your ability and things.
“You have to manage it and I’m giving my all in training to be the best I can be.”
“After coming back from the Dragons to Sarries, maybe it was a case of feeling more at home and seeing some familiar faces because I’ve been there for 10 years.
“It makes a difference and playing for Sarries in the Championship with the Lions boys, I think I’ve got back to my level and playing my best rugby.
Tompkins’ comments are in stark contrast to ones issued by Dragons head coach Ryan when he left the club. “Nick has been fantastic during his time his with us, combining playing for both Dragons and Wales.
“In unusual times, Nick has made a big impression on us all and also benefitted from challenging himself in a new competition and environment. He leaves with our very best wishes for the future.”
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