Nick Tompkins is confident ahead of Wales' clash with Scotland
‘We’ve got a decent side to go up there and give it all we’ve got,’: Wales centre Nick Tompkins is in confident mood ahead of Six Nations clash with Scotland despite injury crisis
- Dan Lydiate tore his anterior cruciate ligament against Ireland last Saturday
- Lydiates’s replacement Josh Navidi then injured his neck in the same game
- Nick Tompkins believes Wales ‘underperformed’ during Autumn Nations Cup
- Scotland are on their best ever run in the Six Nations, winning their last four
There might be more bandages holding the Welsh together than Tutankhamun this week but they refuse to believe their trip to Scotland on Saturday is cursed.
Their No 6 jersey has been particularly hexed. First Dan Lydiate tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee against Ireland, then Josh Navidi replaced him only to hurt his neck.
And Josh MacLeod was next named for a debut in that shirt on Wednesday only to rupture his Achilles tendon within half an hour at training.
Nick Tompkins has backed Wales to overcome their injury problems ahead of Scotland clash
Add losing three flankers in four days to Hallam Amos and Johnny Williams’ concussions, George North’s foot problem, Tomos Williams’ pulled hamstring, Jonathan Davies’ ankle strain and Josh Adams’ ban and you would forgive the rest of them running for their lives fearing bursting into flames.
But it speaks to the depth that Warren Gatland built before he left, and that Wayne Pivac has tried to nurture in his year too, that this Welsh XV could perhaps look stronger on paper than last week’s.
In comes Liam Williams – one of their most talented players – and while Aaron Wainwright has fallen down the pecking order at flanker he was first choice at the recent World Cup.
So really, this is not a week where Wales are feeling sorry for themselves.
Johnny Williams will not be available against Scotland after sustaining a concussion injury
‘It’s not like we’re completely depleted or anything like that,’ said centre Nick Tompkins who has come in for Johnny Williams, but joked himself he was ‘playing with one arm’ against Ireland after a shoulder knock in the second half.
‘We’ve still got a fairly decent side to go up there and give it all we’ve got.’
With their first-choice front-five available, two of the greatest back-rowers Wales have ever seen in Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau, a 58-cap scrum-half playing in Gareth Davies and 865 caps across the XV they are not looking for slices of luck that saw them beat a 14-man Ireland either.
‘If you start basing everything on luck you are going down the wrong path, you’re not preparing well enough,’ added Tompkins who has spent his life winning with Saracens.
Despite their injury concerns Wales beat Ireland last Saturday at the Principality Stadium
‘Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to get those breaks. We’ll take them, but I’m not going to hinge our performance, or how we play, on luck. You make your own luck.
‘We need to build, to go again, and go hard against a very good Scotland side.’
Tompkins himself feels more settled as a Welsh Test player, a year after his debut. He is more used to living in the gold-fish bowl and knows winning games is the only way to keep his country happy.
‘We underperformed in the Nations Cup and we feel like we did in last year’s Six Nations as well,’ he admitted.
‘We feel like we owe ourselves, the fans, and a lot of people performances. I’m not going to say results or outcomes – we owe them performances and the rest takes care of itself.
Wales missed out on a spot in the Autumn Nations Cup final last year after losing to England
‘They’re passionate, and they support us. We wouldn’t have that any other way because we need that. It’s brilliant, but that also brings a lot of hype, a lot of speculation, a lot of click bait-type columns.
‘You’ve got to get on with it, and you owe it to those people and yourself to work hard and give it everything you’ve got.
‘Otherwise, you shouldn’t be out there. It comes with the territory really.
‘Hopefully we can ride the momentum from the Ireland game going into this game against a Scotland side with a lot of motivation. They’re riding really high after the England win so it’s going to be a big one.’
Scotland are in good form and full of confidence after beating England at Twickenham
Scotland might be on their best ever run of consecutive Six Nations wins, four, after a superb triumph at Twickenham but are still not used to backing up big victories the next week.
‘It is a feeling that will never leave us but it is something we want week on week and something we can do,’ said skipper Stuart Hogg.
‘It lasted 24 hours before we got back on the training field getting ready for this job.
‘We have talked a lot about how great it would be to back that up with a cracking performance and another win at Murrayfield.’
One will end the week higher up the pyramid come full-time, but if Wales win despite an injury jinx they will start looking like kings from the valleys.
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