Monday, 12 November 2007

Where's Wally...?

So, an overweight ex-forward who is some way past his best has made a recent return to the rugby field.

But enough about me, the heartening news to emerge from the weekend's European ties was the return to action of former Northampton and England hooker Steve "Wally" Thompson, who came on as a first half replacement for French club Brive against Connacht.

Thompson, who announced his retirement earlier this year due to a neck injury and then joined Brive in a coaching capacity, was last month given the go-ahead by doctors to resume his playing career.

Despite being described by the Northampton Chronicle as "visibly out of shape" (although when was he ever really in shape?), it's great to hear that Thompson is back playing again and, given that he seems to have been around for ever, I was shocked to hear that he's still only 29. That means he'll only be 33 by the time of the next Rugby World Cup, a mere infant in England forward terms.

If he can stay injury-free and if (and it's a big if I admit) he can get himself back to the sort of form he displayed in 2002-2003, when he was undoubtedly one of the world's most effective hookers, then this can only be good news for England. Only one word could describe a front-row of Sheridan, Thompson and Stevens...


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