Thomp­son still de­voted to Tawa

Kapi-Mana News - - COMMUNITY COOKBOOK - CHELSEA MCLAUGH­LIN

Not many peo­ple can say they have been part of a rugby team for 25 years, but Neil Thomp­son can proudly claim just that.

He has been vol­un­teer­ing as the Tawa pre­miers go-to guy for rub­downs and strap­ping since the early 1990s.

Thomp­son played rugby for the Tawa Colts. When he then de­cided to fo­cus on full­time work, he wanted to main­tain a link with the club.

‘‘I wanted to be in­volved in rugby, but not as a coach or a man­ager, be­cause that’s too much hard work,’’ he said.

He didn’t have much phys­io­ther­apy knowl­edge, but has learnt a lot through ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘I did a mas­sage course and sports medicine cour­ses and started from there re­ally.

‘‘Over the years we’ve had phys­ios with the team ev­ery now and again, so you’re sort of learn­ing off them as well.’’

Thomp­son said his rugby high­light was 2013.

‘‘It wasn’t just win­ning the Ju­bilee Cup. We also won the Swin­dale Shield and ba­si­cally ev­ery­thing on of­fer in terms of cups and tro­phies that year.’’

He said be­ing a part of the team dur­ing that suc­cess was a plea­sure.

‘‘It was a great feel­ing, re­ally awe­some. Ev­ery­thing just worked well.’’

Thomp­son has no plans to give up his po­si­tion.

‘‘I love rugby, I love the en­vi­ron­ment ... The guys are awe­some.

‘‘It helps keep you young.’’

PHOTO: CHELSEA MCLAUGH­LIN

Neil Thomp­son, Tawa rugby’s most loyal ser­vant, out­side the team’s clu­b­rooms.

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