New TRU columnist Guy Thompson excited to get going with Ealing

Talking Rugby Union is pleased to reveal Guy Thompson as our latest columnist for the 2020/21 season.

Guy has recently announced his move to ambitious Championship outfit Ealing Traillfinders following his two-year spell with Leicester Tigers and it will be brilliant to have someone of his calibre contributing to TRU.

As an introduction, we caught up with Guy on our latest episode of TRU Talks where he discusses the excitement of joining Ealing, a phone call with Leicester head coach Geordan Murphy and putting pen to paper with Talking Rugby Union!

On his move to Ealing

GT: When I went down to meet them, I met Ben Ward who is the Director of Rugby. What really appealed about Ealing for me was the ambition of the club. I remember talking to you guys about what was next for me had to me the right challenge and had to be the right move. This was it for me.

We did look abroad and there were options in Japan and France, but what it boiled down to for me was what excited me the most and was being a part of this journey with Ealing something that really appealed to me? Yes it was.

I have always felt that some of my best rugby which I have played is when I have been an underdog so for us to go into that league as massive underdogs against Saracens who have obviously come down, that to me really appealed. The challenge of being part of this journey with Ealing from the Championship to get to the Premiership is something I wanted to be a part of.

On Ealing’s recruitment

GT: I think the recruitment they have done has been very clever. You look at someone like Charlie Walker, he was an outstanding player when he was at Harlequins. I think he was massively underrated there. He scores a lot of tries, he is a deadly finisher and he reads the game really well.

You also look at guys like Shaun Malton, [Michael] Van Vuuren coming in in the hooker role in a position where you want somebody to set up and take charge. Both of those players can do that.

I also think someone like Dean Hammond coming in from Worcester is going to be an exceptional player, but I think as well that the retention was big. It wasn’t necessarily the new signings they were going to get. It was the people that they had decided they want to keep, people like [Steven] Shingler at 10. He is an international standard fly-half. I think he is an expectational player and I am really looking forward to playing with him.

On leaving Leicester

GT: When you look at it in detail, it is not nice for players not being able to have that farewell game, but that is quite a selfish view from the player, I think. Yes, it would be great for me to say goodbye and thank you to everyone, but with the pandemic going on at the moment, that is the least of people’s worries.

What was more important was that, yes, I am still contracted until the end of June with Leicester, however, I am not going into training now because I am a risk of infection. I think there are 20-odd boys leaving Leicester this year and if you then brought those 20 boys into train around the squad that is going to be playing, that could be another 20 people who bring an infection into a professional training base. It isn’t worth the risk.

I dropped the equipment back the other day and picked up my belongings that I had left there and that was my time at Leicester done. I remember driving out of the gates and not thinking too much about until I kind of left. It is a bit bittersweet.

I have been itching to get going with Ealing as soon as I signed on the paper so I am really excited about that, but a bit sad that my time at Leicester has come to an end. I had a lovely phone call off Geordie. He is a great guy and he just apologised that I wasn’t able to come back in which was obvious to be honest and we understood that. He just thanked me for everything and he said he’d love to get be back down there for a game in the future and it is an invite I will take him up on.