| 3°C Belfast

Sarries grounding helps Tompkins


Nick Tompkins

Nick Tompkins

�INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Nick Tompkins

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 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 on Saturday.

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," said Tompkins.

"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.

"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.

"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.

"They are really accepting, they are good lads and 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.

"I'm flying around, but I am missing tackles," he added. "I calmed down, sat on the bench and said, 'Okay, that's the level, you can do it'. It was a blessing in disguise."

Belfast Telegraph