Saracens recall Wales center Nick Tompkins from Dragons loan

NICK Tompkins’ loan spell with the Dragons ended prematurely after the Saracens recalled center Wales in an attempt to avoid a costly failure in their promotion offer.

The 26-year-old joined Rodney Parade in August to increase his test chances after Sarries’ relegation from the English Premiership.

However, his parent club suffered an opening weekend shock at Cornish Pirates in the Championship and are unwilling to take any chances in their attempt to make a quick return to the top flight.

While it was officially declared that the loan period was over after the conclusion of the Guinness PRO14 and European campaigns, the deal had been for him to stay until the summer.

Tompkins has already returned to the Saracens after the Dragons took a lead against Northampton in the Challenge Cup, meaning they are not in the quarter-finals this weekend.

Nick Tompkins of Dragons Charges Forward Against Wasps

“It was great to enter a new environment and see a new culture and make new friends,” he said. “I was really impressed with Dragons’ aspirations and the desire to improve.

“What’s under construction is really impressive and it’s something you can really support – it impressed me from day one.

“The local boy group is young, humble and has a great work ethic. They want to impress and work so hard.

“There is an exciting future at Dragons and I truly wish the region every success for the future.”

Tompkins took top honors alongside Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell, Jamie George, Brad Barritt and the Vunipolas and believes the brief stint at Rodney Parade brought him out of his shell.

Nick Tompkins comes under attack in Dragons' attack on Edinburgh

Nick Tompkins comes under attack in Dragons’ attack on Edinburgh

“On a personal level, stepping into a leadership role has been good for me and the players have looked to me for answers,” he said.

“It was interesting to see how I got into this role and I enjoyed it.

“This has been the greatest personal growth for me and the way I have matured.

“You are always trying to improve your game and your skills, that’s a given. But the invaluable part for me has been the leadership role.”

The center was named to the bench against Northampton after rugby manager Dean Ryan chose to reward the form of brilliant prospect Aneurin Owen, who started alongside Jamie Roberts in midfield.

Tompkins came on in the first half as a winger after Ashton Hewitt injured his knee on his second try.

Center Sarries made 14 appearances at Rodney Parade, including nine starts, and scored a try in the Champions Cup loss to Bordeaux-Begles.

The move helped him make six test outings this season, bringing his caps total to 10, but he ended the Six Nations behind Jonathan Davies, George North and Willis Halaholo in the pecking order.

Dragons rugby director Dean Ryan has insisted the Sarries star made an impact during his brief stint at Newport.

Nick Tompkins of Dragons takes on Ben Earl of Bristol.

Nick Tompkins of Dragons takes on Ben Earl of Bristol.

“Nick has been fantastic during his time with us, combining playing for the Dragons and Wales,” he said.

“In unusual times Nick has made a big impression on all of us and has also enjoyed his challenges in a new competition and a new environment. He leaves with our best wishes for the future.

“Our thanks also go to the Saracens for their full support of Nick’s loan over the past year.”

Tompkins could face Dragons center Connor Edwards one week on Sunday as the 23-year-old Croesyceiliog, who is without a contract this summer, is on loan at Doncaster.

The Dragons begin their Rainbow Cup campaign against the Scarlets on the weekend of April 23 with Roberts, Owen and Jack Dixon in their midfield options, while valiant Adam Warren and Tom Griffiths are on their way home after groin and knee injuries respectively.

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