Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

All Blacks: Thomson knuckles down to be long-term AB

Adam Thompson will have to abandon his favourite parts of the sport. Photo / NZ Herald.
Adam Thompson will have to abandon his favourite parts of the sport. Photo / NZ Herald.

Blindside flanker knows his roaming days are over if he is to do well at test level, writes Wynne Gray

Adam Thomson does not need any convincing.

He wants to be a long-term All Black, he would not be satisfied with being an adventurous Super 15 star.

It is a balancing act for the blindside flanker but he knows he needs to abandon his favourite parts of the sport if he is going to succeed at test level.

Given an option, Thomson would like to roam, using his pace to move from breakdowns to hit-ups and finishing flourishes on the wing.

But that is not in his All Black playbook. Not the one delivered by coach Steve Hansen.

"I have to do my core skills well," Thomson said.

"I am an option at the lineout and loose forwards tackle the ball carrier and work at the breakdown.

"If we nail those things and make sure every little task I do, I do 100 per cent and am effective at those tasks then things like hanging out on the end of the chain, if those chances occur, I grab those."

But never at the expense of his main duties, that is a no-no for Thomson, who follows the injured Victor Vito into the No6 jersey for tomorrow's second test against Ireland.

Thomson spent much of his life in Christchurch and to see the ruined city during the World Cup and this week have been "quite devastating".

He was reminded of the destruction when he and Conrad Smith were returning from the gym to the hotel.

"I was taking the usual routes I would take and all the roads were closed and it took us quite a while to find our way back here. But that is the reality of people living here now."

Everyone realised what this occasion meant for the city.

"It is a proud rugby region, they love their rugby, love their sport.

"We see it when we are out there doing our training and there is general excitement."

This was Thomson's chance to convince the selectors he was a test blindside flanker.

The Irish would target the breakdown, they'd want to slow down the ball to disrupt the All Blacks momentum and get themselves into the game.

"We've got to counter that and, as always, if you win the breakdown you go a long way towards winning the game, so it is up to the loose forwards this week to do that.

"I think I have been around long enough to know what to do. It is a test match not Super rugby and I need to adjust my game and certain things you get away with at Super rugby you don't at this level," Thomson said.

"I guess at Super 15 level you try and do a lot more than it generally requires.

"When you come into the All Blacks, the beauty of it is that you have world-class players all around you and you just have to do your job."

- NZ Herald

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