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I Want Six As My Own, Says Bulked-up Thomson

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Fuseworks Media
Adam Thomson
Adam Thomson

By Mark Geenty of NZPA

London, Nov 20 NZPA - Tough school, this All Blacks rugby tour.

Adam Thomson has forced his way into the No 6 jersey but knows even a strong game against England might not be enough to retain his spot against France.

The Highlanders flanker headed off Jerome Kaino in the most absorbing selection battle of the tour as he braces for his 15th test against a seasoned England loose trio at Twickenham on Sunday (NZT).

Thomson said the players had bought into the spirit of the "selection tour" where all the 33-man squad get their chance and rotation is back in vogue.

"It's a close run thing with Jerome at the moment, but it's good it puts pressure on us and makes us perform better I think," he said.

"I've just enjoyed getting test starts against top teams and getting a couple in Wellington and Tokyo back to back was good. I'm hoping to get a couple more to finish this off and set myself up for next year."

After the victories over the Wallabies in Wellington and Tokyo, Thomson was benched to give Kaino his chance against Wales in Cardiff, before sitting out as the second-stringers beat Italy 20-6 in Milan.

So the man described by coach Graham Henry on this tour as the most improved player in New Zealand first-class rugby is certainly due, after another impressive season.

"Jerome's the big physical power player who's there to make the big hit and make that physical impact. Perhaps I've got a more speed and mobility to get around and play a dual role with (Richie) McCaw and threaten the breakdown and turnover ball."

That's the facet where Thomson feels the All Blacks loose trio can gain an edge over English loosies James Haskell, Lewis Moody and the recalled Joe Worsley.

Having started the international season in the No 7 jersey, Thomson has flagged that idea and wants a decent crack at blindside with McCaw at his shoulder.

Thomson said he had bulked up 7kg since the Super 14 in order to compete more strongly at the breakdown where he continued to marvel at his captain's impact.

"I'm just doing what I'm told. If I have to play seven I do but I'm fairly comfortable at six. I want to make that my home.

"There's no point having an All Blacks future sitting behind Richie McCaw and I'd love to be out there with him. Six is where I feel most at home.

"The guy's obviously world class and he shows you the way. He's a handful and he creates a lot of attention out there so if guys are paying attention to him it gives other guys an opportunity."

 

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