New recruit Nick Tompkins has spoken about his excitement over his move to Dragons – and revealed how the ‘open and honest’ approach from Dean Ryan convinced him it was the right decision.
Wales international Tompkins is moving to Rodney Parade on a one-year loan deal from Saracens.
The 25-year-old – who made his international debut earlier this year – admits he spoke to a lot of people, including Mark McCall at Saracens, before making the final choice.
And he has now opened up on why he decided Dragons – and the chance to work under boss Ryan - was the place for him to make an impact.
“It was quite refreshing when I spoke to Dean. It was open and honest,” he said.
“I liked all the regions, but the Dragons seemed the up and coming, exciting one. They just spoke differently and it sounded more like what I had been used to than the others.
“That’s really because of Dean and what he’s doing. It’s the way they are talking about their rugby, the way they are going about what they are doing, the way they have been proactive with information going out. I’m positive I’ve made a really good choice.
“I spoke to a lot of people before making the decision, including Mark McCall. We talked at length about Dean and what he’s doing and some of the players they have, some of the young talent.
“I just felt it was the best option for me. There were times when it was up and down with other clubs, but I think I have landed at the right place.
“It came down to what the prospects were - how exciting things could be,” he added.
“I came to the decision with the Dragons because of the excitement of it, where we could take this group and just how it’s being coached and led.
“I don’t think that can be stated enough. Behind every good team there’s someone guiding the ship, leading and just nudging in the right direction and talking about the right stuff.
“The chat and culture around a team is really important and they have it here at the Dragons.”
Tompkins has now moved to a new home in Wales and admits he can now not wait to get started in new surroundings at Ystrad Mynach.
“I’ve just got more and more excited the closer it’s got and now I’m here I’m just itching to go,” he said.
“I just want to get in, I want to meet people, I want to get involved. I had a lot of my time around lockdown to get my head around moving.
“This period coming up now is all so new to me. It’s just a feeling of real excitement coming into a new environment.
“The words that are being said and the focus that’s being set are exactly the same as the club I’ve come from. It’s good.”
And as for the chance to work with Ryan, Tompkins believes the region is on the right trajectory.
“For me, it’s the honesty he brings,” he said. “He will tell you what you need to get better, but he’s also humble in terms of saying what he’s not good at.
“There doesn’t seem to be any panic, there’s no need to pull a rabbit out of a hat. It’s very straightforward what we need to do.
“It’s about working unbelievably hard and enjoying each other’s company and enjoy playing for the club.
“It’s hard to actually keep that culture as good as it can be, but it’s being done because of Dean and his leadership.
“I don’t think enough can be said about him and what he’s doing. It’s definitely rejuvenated the Dragons.”
I spoke to a lot of people before making the decision, including Mark McCall. We talked at length about Dean and what he’s doing and some of the players they have, some of the young talent...