Tompkins urges Six Nations strugglers Wales to find Italy 'answer'
Wales centre Nick Tompkins has insisted his side must "come back with an answer" when they face Italy in what promises to be a Six Nations wooden spoon decider.
After three rounds, both Wales and Italy are still searching for a first win, although the Azzurri do at least have a bonus point.
Italy have finished bottom of the table 17 times in the 23 years since they became the 'sixth' nation, while you have to go back to 2003 for the last time Wales ended up in last place at the end of the Championship.
But defeats by Ireland, Scotland and now England mean Wales have made their worst start to a Six Nations for 20 years.
And Wales' fate could effectively be sealed should they suffer another reverse against a vastly-improved Italy on March 11 in Rome, with the Azzurri having impressed in defeats by powerhouses France and Ireland.
"It is really important we come back with an answer -- an emotional performance, but a controlled one," Tompkins said.
"It's important for this group to heal and be together in this time. We can't turn on each other, we have got to do this all together. We are all in it."
England won 20-10 on Saturday with Wales' back division creating precious little in attack during a match where the hosts' lone try came from an interception.
"We have just got to keep building, pick ourselves up, just get better every day," said Tompkins.
Italy will be bidding for a second successive win against Wales next month after last year's 22-21 triumph in Cardiff ended a woeful run of 36 consecutive defeats in the Six Nations dating back to 2015.
But they will now be up against a Wales team who, after Saturday's reverse, have lost 12 of their last 15 Tests against all opponents.
The build-up to the England game was dominated by the threat of a strike by both Wales players and their counterparts at the four Welsh regions over a contract dispute before a last-ditch compromise paved the way for the showpiece match to go ahead.
While a calmer atmosphere should prevail ahead of Wales' trip to Rome, several outstanding issues remain to be resolved.
"I hope things get done now," said Tompkins. "There is a lot of respect going forward, and it is about keeping working together to make it a fair shake.
"We all want to see the game grow in Wales and we all want it to be better. It's not anyone against anyone.
"Let's make these regions the best place to be and let's make Wales the best place to be."