Kane Thompson has been plagued by niggling injuries all year, but he has still managed plenty of starts for the Chiefs and couldn't have timed his return for tomorrow night against the Hurricanes better.
"It has been an interesting year," said the 1.98m No8. "I've had a few niggles throughout the year, but it's good to be back in the starting lineup this week and returning to my home town to play some rugby."
Born in Paraparaumu, Thompson is very much a Wellington lad, but in recent years has become something of a rugby gypsy, playing ITM Cup rugby for Southland and Hawke's Bay after a stint in France for US Dax, while also representing Samoa in two Rugby World Cups.
His latest injury stemmed from a knock to his lower back, but he has also been plagued by other injuries this season including a problematic neck complaint.
He claims to be over all that now, injury-free and ready to play a part in the business end of the season for the Chiefs, having played two weeks ago against the Highlanders in Dunedin.
"The Hurricanes have got a lot to play for and obviously so have we. We want to finish top of the table and that's what we're going down there to do."
Thompson's return to the Chiefs' pack boosts their lineout that suffered badly against the Crusaders after the late defection of skipper and lineout caller Craig Clarke.
"I'm used to playing lock and used to jumping a lot, but last week was just a combination of a few little errors I think, and I don't think we'll let that get on top of us. We'll start afresh and we'll be confident going into the game with our lineouts," he said.
Thompson warned that while the Hurricanes pack was a different beast to that of the Crusaders it was still a very good one.
"They're all pretty good ball runners, they're all pretty mobile and their loose forwards are very fast and physical and have good line speed in defence.
"So it's going to be a great difficulty for us to overcome them and try and get on top of them. It will be a good challenge."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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