Today we have a treat for you boys, our first professional player interview. Guy Thompson’s story is different to every other player in the premiership for sure, he has had a number of set-backs but is now a regular starter at Wasps in what is a very competitive back row.
Thanks for doing this interview Guy, I’m sure your story will inspire all of the Rugby Muscle Family, let’s hear it all! Could you tell us a brief history of your playing career?
I only started playing rugby seriously when I was 15 and had the opportunity to go to Australia with my School team. I went to Bromsgrove School in Worcestershire to do my A-levels where I played for Worcester Warriors EPDG [school-academy] squad and represented England U18’s, winning the AER european tournament in France.
After this I decided to follow my education instead of joining Worcester’s [full-time] academy and went to UWIC, where I got my degree in Sport and Eduction and played for UWIC 1st XV, we won a couple BUSA Championships in my time there. When I graduated I signed a 1 year academy contract with Gloucester and was also selected for the England sevens squad this season but didn’t get capped.
It was after this that i decided to go travelling and not pursue rugby anymore. I played a lot of Sevens, mostly with Templar 7s in tournaments around the world and after I returned home I played for my local side Hereford in National 3. I then went to work in London in an office-job and played part-time for Richmond in National 2 south [where he impressed a lot], I was then signed to Jersey in national 1 where we won promotion to the Championship. After playing 1 season in the Championship I signed for Wasps!
I am pretty sure I am the only player to go through all the national leagues consecutively to make it to the Premiership.
Saying all this out loud must make you appreciate the work you must’ve put in to achieve your dream in the premiership! Did you think that you ever would be in your shoes now?
To be honest I didn’t think too far ahead. I never really sat down and set out to achieve premiership, but as I progressed through the higher leagues I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a dream of mine.
Nice! And now you’re living it… what would you say to others who are in their early 20s and think that maybe their dream is over?
The main advice I would give is to make sure you enjoy your rugby and never give up. I made sure I enjoyed every saturday no matter where I was playing, and there have been some pretty dire places. I worked hard off the field as well as on it and made sure that if the opportunity arose to go higher, I would be in the right physical and mental condition to take it.
Here’s one, you seem to change a lot around the back row, do you think your playing-style lends you more to 6, 7 or 8? And why?
I am lucky that I have always played across the back row, and that has helped me feel comfortable in all the positions. I always classed myself as an open side, but I guess my natural game lends itself more to an 8 – I love carrying the ball and having a free role, but I also love getting over the ball and jackling. I have really started to enjoy my defence recently as I am working really hard with my coach Brad Davies, so this is improving my game at open side. I haven’t really played a lot of 6 but with our back row options at wasps, we all filter in and our roles often over lap.
Yea, I suppose you guys are all good players across the board so there’s no need to specialise…
Gym talk! What are you favourite lifts? And how much do you do for each one?
I used to love Squatting and I had a PB of 230kg, but i also like to Bench (160kg x 1) and recently am enjoying Single Arm Bent over DB row.
If you were to name one thing that you’ve been doing since joining Wasps that’s made a big difference to your performance, what would it be?
I sorted my diet out a lot, i didn’t realise how important food and nutrition was. I noticed a massive difference in my performance when I understood my food intake more.
This year was Dan Baugh’s first full season with us and when you are in the gym with him you are working. He pushes us and our gym sessions are always varied.
Favourite gym tune?
Anything that gets the gym bouncing. For me, house music is always a winner.
Favourite post-gym meal?
We are lucky and have food provided at the club for us, but if i am away from our gym i love sushi after.
Favourite cheat meal?
I love a roast dinner, preferably Roast lamb with mint sauce and all the trimmings.
“Anyone who has never made a mistake obviously never tried anything new”
“When you walk up to opportunities door, don’t knock it…..Kick that Bitch in, smile and introduce yourself!”
“Every failure brings you one step closer to success”
If you have one more piece of advice for someone who wants to be the best rugby player they can be, what would it be?
Practice your basic skills, work hard physically and mentally, be prepared for set backs, they happen! but its how you react and deal with them that defines you as a person and a rugby player. but most importantly Enjoy every second, its a short career and you are a long time retired.