Scarlets speedster Tomi Lewis has been tipped as a Wales star of the future by former Dragons coach Paul Turner.
The 21-year-old Wales under 20s full-back signed a new contract with the Scarlets last week and impressed under the guidance of Turner while on loan at Ampthill in the Green King IPA Championship last season.
And Turner believes Lewis, who also shone for Wales sevens scoring seven tries in his debut tournament in Dubai, is one of the brightest back three prospects in Wales.
“Tomi is a fine player who has a lot of X-factor,” said the former Wales playmaker.
“I talked to him about his duties as a goalkeeper when he was at Ampthill which is a big part of a full backs game being the last line of defence. During his time with us he showed that he’s got the ability to go a lot further in the game.
“I’m sure his chance will come with the Scarlets and he’ll have to take it. Sam Costelow is another guy I had at Ampthill and he’s going to be very good as well.
“He was on loan with us from Leicester Tigers and just like Tomi he showed he was capable of going right to the top. Their attitudes were outstanding.
“I think Tomi is at the right region. The way the Scarlets approach the game will suit both Tomi and Sam down to the ground but they’ve got to take their chances.”
Lewis faces stiff competition for a place in the Scarlets back-three with senior internationals Leigh Halfpenny, Liam Williams, Johnny McNicholl and Steff Evans in the mix alongside Ryan Conbeer, Paul Asquith and Tom Prydie.
But Turner believes if Lewis can strike the right balance between attack and defence he can go a long way in the game.
He said: “The balance between being the last line of defence and an attacking player with x factor has to be met. If you look at the likes of Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny they’ve all gone through this and been questioned in those aspects but came through.
“What I see in Tomi Lewis is if he can sort those sort of things out then I think he’s got the ability to play international rugby in the future. He’s got superb balance, he can take on defenders and he often carves up defences from the back.
“He’s also got a good kicking game. He showed he has the ability to make the right decisions albeit in the Championship. We went up to Newcastle and he carved them up good and proper.
“The home crowd thought it was sensational and were like where’s this kid come from? He’s also had a good grounding which is important.
“If he gets a run of games he can go right to the top. He’s certainly got the wow factor but some of the dour stuff he’ll have to come to terms with.
“It’s all well and good having terrific attacking ability but you have to be solid under the high ball and defensively in a wet and windy night out in Galway. That’s a work on for him but give him some open space and he’ll carve teams up.”
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