Team News: Saracens Men v Doncaster Knights
Nick Tompkins insists the chance to run out as a Saracen once again is a moment he will savour as the centre prepares to make his first start since returning to the club.
The Welsh international’s return is one of five changes Director of Rugby Mark McCall has made to the starting line-up for Sunday’s trip to face the unbeaten Doncaster Knights at Castle Park.
Club Captain Owen Farrell will lead the team out having recovered from a slight niggle, while Tim Swinson, Mike Rhodes and Sean Reffell all come in to bolster the forward pack.
Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Vincent Koch continue in an experienced front-row with Swinson partnering Maro Itoje in the second-row, Rhodes replacing Andy Christie at blindside flanker and Reffell in at openside.
“I’m forever grateful to the Dragons and had a great time there but I’m looking to make some more memories with Saracens now.
Tompkins, playing for the Men in Black for the first time since a 27-21 win against Northampton Saints in February 2020, will partner Elliot Daly in the midfield with Elliott Obatoyinbo remaining at full-back.
There is a welcome return to the matchday 23 for hooker Tom Woolstencroft, who is also joined on the bench by Richard Barrington, Callum Hunter-Hill and Andy Christie.
Tom Whiteley will look to add energy when called upon at scrum-half, and Academy graduates Manu Vunipola and Elliott Obatoyinbo complete the match-day squad.
Ahead of what will be his 119th Saracens appearance on Sunday, Tompkins insists he can’t wait to start earning the respect of his teammates all over again.
“I’m really excited to be back,” the 26-year-old said. “It’s my home so it’s been tough being away, especially watching the guys in another league and I’ve missed it a lot.
“This is the most nervous I’ve been in a while as you want to get that respect back from the boys and build those relationships again.
“No team in this league is easy and we’ve got to be prepared for a fight. Doncaster are a good side with some momentum so it’s going to be exciting to play against them.
“I hope we can just rip in to it and go there with the shackles off and be physical.”
Sunday afternoon’s match will be streamed live online, click here for more information on how to order it.
Saracens Men team to play Doncaster Knights:
15 Elliott Obatoyinbo
14 Alex Lewington
13 Elliot Daly
12 Nick Tompkins
11 Sean Maitland
10 Owen Farrell (c)
9 Aled Davies
1 Mako Vunipola
2 Jamie George
3 Vincent Koch
4 Maro Itoje
5 Tim Swinson
6 Michael Rhodes
7 Sean Reffell
8 Billy Vunipola
16 Tom Woolstencroft
17 Richard Barrington
18 Alec Clarey
19 Callum Hunter-Hill
20 Andy Christie
21 Tom Whiteley
22 Manu Vunipola
23 Dom Morris