Versatile Samoan international looking to call upon ability and experience in first season at Kingston Park
Having arrived in the North East earlier this week, new signing Kane Thompson took time out of his training schedule to talk to the Falcons website about his arrival at the club. Joining his new club fresh from a Super 15s season with the Chiefs, Thompson is excited about the opportunities available at his new club.
“I’ve never played in the Premiership before and this new pitch is exciting too. It offers a new brand of rugby and means we’re able to give a more open game style, especially in those winter months.
“First and foremost I just have to push for a spot in the team though. I’m still hoping to be involved with Samoa in next year’s world cup so I’m still pushing for a spot there too.” Having enjoyed a long career as a first team regular with a number of high profile sides, the adaptable forward is hoping to continue that success with Newcastle Falcons.
Thompson, 32, said: “I can play number 8 and middle row so there’s some versatility as a player and a bit of experience too. Line outs are a specialty for me and I like to get the ball in hand and just play a bit of rugby.
“I like to work hard and I’ve really enjoyed the teams I’ve been a part of so it’s been easy to buy into the culture of those clubs. I’ve been lucky so far and it’s been a pretty long career so hopefully I can do the same things here; I already feel very welcome and a part of the team. It will obviously take me a little time to learn everyone’s names but that will come and in the time I’ve been here so far I’m really enjoying it.”
As an experienced Samoan international Thompson, 32, will be hoping to represent his country on North East soil next year when Samoa take on Scotland at St James Park as part of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
And although this week’s arrival marks Thompson’s first trip to the region, he is no stranger to the North East culture and people. “My grandfather is a Geordie so it’s interesting to come up here.
“I’ve been to the UK before but never to this part of England. My granddad moved over to New Zealand as a teenager or just after so I haven’t made it up here before.”
However, with a list of things to do and people to catch up with, there is plenty of opportunity to find his feet in the North East. “My grandmother has given me a whole list of names of family and stuff over here, obviously it goes back a few generations but once I’m settled in I’ll look around a bit more and explore.”
And will he be following in the footsteps of the many other southern hemisphere players who’ve made the most of the North East waves while plying their trade in the region? “I do own a surfboard but I lived in Biarritz and didn’t get it out there. I’ve heard that a few of the boys like to surf here though and that the surf is pretty good so we’ll see what happens.”
Arriving off the back of a heavy Super 15 season, Thompson recognises that it may take him a while to get settled into his new surroundings. “I’ve just come off the back of a tough season and it’s been a bit frustrating this year; it wasn’t the season I would’ve wanted for myself but that’s the kind of adversity rugby throws in your face at times so the first thing now will be getting myself back on track and pushing for a spot in the team.”
Newcastle Falcons will kick off their Aviva Premiership Rugby home fixtures on Sunday 14th September when they take on London Irish at Kingston Park, kick off is 3pm. Tickets for the game are available online here or from the club’s 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 with prices starting from £15 for adults and £7.50 for Under 16s.