Nick Tompkins: Wales centre's disbelief at Jonathan Davies partnership


Jonathan Davies (left) and Nick Tompkins (right)
Venue: Stade de France Date: 24 October Kick-off: 20:10 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary. Live on S4C.

Centre Nick Tompkins has revealed his delight and disbelief at being set to achieve his ambition of partnering Jonathan Davies in the Wales midfield.

Tompkins made his debut in the Six Nations when Davies was recovering from a knee injury that sidelined him for almost a year.

They are in the Wales midfield to face France in Paris on Saturday.

“I can’t believe it. I have grown up watching him which sounds weird now,” said Tompkins.

Davies has not started for Wales since the World Cup bronze medal match against New Zealand in November, 2019.

Since then Tompkins has been brought into the Wales fold and made a try-scoring debut as a replacement in the victory against Italy before starting in the defeats against Ireland, France and England.

Now Tompkins, 25, and 32-year-old Davies have been named in the same squad for the first time.

Tompkins was 14 when Davies made his Wales debut on tour against Canada in 2009 and also watched the more senior statesman star for the British and Irish Lions.

“It has been brilliant coming into training with him and getting to know him as much as you can,” said Tompkins.

“I am excited for the game to see what we can do. It’s nice to have that security on the outside at 13 so hopefully it will be good.”

With Hadleigh Parkes having departed for Japan, Tompkins will switch to inside centre after starting at 13 for Wales to date.

“I am looking forward (to playing 12),” said Tompkins.

“There are slight differences and I am looking for the nuances that are 12 and getting my hands on the ball at set-piece and things like that.

“Defensively it’s different and brings its own challenges and that’s going to be fun.

“I have played quite a bit there for Saracens back in the day and that’s no problem, but it will be a bit different in the Six Nations.”

That tournament has been career defining far for Tompkins, who has also joined Dragons from Saracens on a season’s loan during the first lockdown.

“It has been mental, a whirlwind really,” said Tompkins.

“It’s crazy and my family have helped out a lot with moving me in. It’s little things like that which I haven’t done for a while, meeting the players at the Dragons.

“The Six Nations feels like a lifetime ago. I look back on it in such a fond and lovely light because what a special way it was for me to come in for the Italy game.

Nick Tompkins after scoring his try against Italy in his Wales debut which was the first of his four Wales caps so far
Nick Tompkins after scoring his try against Italy on his Wales debut, the first of his four caps so far

“There are things I wish I could have done better like the Ireland game. I wish I’d been more composed – I let the atmosphere get to me a little bit.

“In the France game maybe if I didn’t throw an interception we’d have been alright. Overall it was such a fun time.

“It feels so long ago and I’m excited to use this France game as a platform to push off for the Scotland game as the job is not done.”

Tompkins, 25, has also used the time to bulk up after deciding he needed more physicality for international rugby.

“I wanted to put on a little bit more weight because I felt in the Six Nations I was a little bit undersized,” said Tompkins.

“I was fine fitness wise, but I wanted to be a little bit heavier and I used lockdown as well as I could with the limited equipment I had.

“I didn’t have a gym so used a lot of free weights. I was a bit on the heavy side coming in, so I’m trying to slim down a bit to a good playing weight, but it’s difficult when you are not playing.

“I wasn’t shocked by the physicality because you kind of expect it and I’ve been fortunate enough to play in some Champions Cup games at that level.

“I know what it’s about, but wanted to get a bit bigger for longevity and maybe in a couple of collisions I wanted to make sure I’ve got that extra bulk.”

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