Straight back from a win over the Brumbies last weekend, Adam Thomson's season is really just beginning. With two more games to play in Australia (at the time this interview went to press), AND the provincial season and the All Black tours still to come, it is sure to be a long year.
This is nothing new for Thomson, who has been playing professionally since 2004. Critic caught up with the blindside flanker at Logan Park last week.
There are some who have described your career as incremental, as you have worked your way steadily up from the New Zealand secondary schools team to the All Blacks. Did you always aim to play at the highest level?
I always wanted to be an All Black. I think every little boy in New Zealand wants to grow up and be an All Black. My guidance councillor at high school had other plans ...
Traditionally, you are a specialist blindside flanker; however, Richie McCaw has been giving you a few pointers on the openside position for a couple of seasons now. Are you satisfied with your skillset in both positions or are you still more comfortable with blindside?
I think I am pretty comfortable playing blindside, but I think the way the game is going nowadays the loose forwards are pretty interchangeable. I find myself playing [at] seven or eight, at times, so it is good to have a skillset [to] play those positions.
Who do you view as your main competitors for the number six All Black jersey this season?
The obvious one is Jerome Cano. Last year, we had a good battle there for the number six jersey so I see him as the main opposition. There are other guys like Victor Veto who are putting their hands up for it as well so it is always a competitive position.
In 2009, you were the fastest All Black over 40m. Did this develop as a result of your Sevens career, or have you always been quick off the mark?
I have a always been quick, eh, a skinny little white kid. I run pretty fast and I guess that's an asset for me being a loose forward in rugby as well.
Have you been satisfied with the Highlanders’ performance this season?
Nah, not really. It's been pretty disappointing. We have been building down here and we tend to put in some good performances and then some pretty poor ones so consistency has let us down. You can see by some of the highlights what we are capable of so if we can turn more of those close ones into wins I think we will start to be a threat in the competition.
With the Rugby World Cup just around the corner, what are you focusing on at the moment to ensure that you make the All Blacks next year?
I think it is just about playing well, more often than not. It is all well and good having a good game here and there, but I think it is the consistent players that tend to be selected and the guys who prove time and again that they can play at International level.
Are you looking forward to heading over to Canberra this weekend?
Yes and no. Canberra is probably not the pick of the Australian cities, but Australia is always good and the temperature will be nice. Then we have a week on the Gold Coast, so that will be a good way to finish the season. If we can carry on with the form we had in the last game and if we beat these next two Aussie teams, it will go a long way to leave the season on a positive note going into next year.