WALES centre Nick Tompkins is excited about a first taste of regional derby action, believing they can be a launchpad for a successful year with the Dragons.

The 25-year-old has been training with his new teammates in Ystrad Mynach since July after signing on a year-long loan from Saracens.

Tompkins will get a first chance to pull on a Dragons jersey a week on Sunday when Dean Ryan's men take on the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.

They then finish their Guinness PRO14 campaign with a home game against the Scarlets before the mouth-watering European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Bristol at Ashton Gate on Friday, September 18.

Tompkins is used to chasing silverware with Sarries, who face a season in the English Championship because of salary cap breaches, and wants to help the Dragons continue to rise under director of rugby Ryan.

The centre believes the return period after coronavirus and tough tussles can set the squad up for 2020/21.

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"We want to come out of this period strongly, achieve as much as we can during this time and be as pro-active as we can be before we start playing again," said the Wales international.

"It will be great to see what these derby days are all about. You hear a lot about them in the camp so I am excited to get started and be involved in these games."

Tompkins is one of four confirmed new signings and boosts the backs along with fellow Wales internationals Jamie Roberts and Jonah Holmes.

Welsh-qualified lock Joe Maksymiw has arrived from Connacht while prop Greg Bateman is close to signing after leaving Leicester because of a wage dispute.

Tompkins, who has swapped a bid for glory in the Champions Cup for a tilt at the Challenge Cup, has been impressed by the Dragons environment.

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"It's been really good here since I arrived, settling in with all the new players and coaches," said the centre, who made his Test debut off the bench against Italy in the Six Nations and then started against Ireland, France and England.

"I've been really impressed with the set-up and how we have dealt with the lockdown and how we are still trying to learn as best as we can.

"I want to contend internationally and I wanted to play here in Wales so it was a no-brainer to join the Dragons.

"This region is, albeit young, aspiring to do great things and that mentality is important. I feel very fortunate that I can be here to try to push things forward by doing the very best that I can."

Tompkins is joined as a midfield option by Roberts, Jack Dixon, Adam Warren, Connor Edwards and bright prospect Aneurin Owen.

Former Wales and Lions centre Roberts only signed last week so will not be rushed for the derbies.

Owen, 19, could be given a first taste of regional action after impressing with Wales Under-20s.