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