|Weight||118kg (18st 8lb)|
Mobility, strength and durability have served Steve Thompson MBE well since he excelled as a member of the winning Midlands Under 21 team against New Zealand as well as the victorious North and Midlands and England sides against South Africa in the same age group.
His emergence blossomed into the status of a 2003 RWC winner and he has rejuvenated his career since sustaining a serious neck injury in the Heineken Cup pool match against Biarritz and announcing his retirement from the game four years ago.
Steve left Northampton Saints, the club he represented for ten seasons and had captained, to pursue a coaching role with Brive but took further medical advice, was cleared to play for the French club and returned to action later in 2007. At the end May 2010 before winning two more England caps in Australia, he signed a contract with Leeds Carnegie and said: “I am grateful they gave me the opportunity to return to the English game.” Twelve months on, he switched to London Wasps on a three-year deal starting in 2011-12.
His selection in the England squad for the matches against Argentina two summers ago bridged a gap of 38 months since he won his 47th cap against Ireland. Steve’s international comeback off the bench for Dylan Hartley was in the 37-15 win over the Pumas at Old Trafford and he won his fiftieth cap against Argentina in November 2009.
He duly became the twenty second England player to reach 60 caps when sharing in the 26-13 win over Samoa last autumn. On March 13, 2011, he became England’s most capped hooker, surpassing the record of Brian Moore, who started 63 of his 64 Test matches in a career spanning 1987-95.
Steve scored his fourth Test try in his next game against Ireland, intercepting a pass from Eoin Reddan only two minutes after being called off the bench. It added to his previous international touchdowns against Italy (2003 and 2005) and Georgia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
An uncompromising forward, he prefaced World Cup success with an eye-catching tour of New Zealand and Australia the summer of 2003 and represented the 2005 Lions against Argentina and in New Zealand.
He initially appeared twice for England A 11 years ago, his debut being in the 31-30 defeat by Ireland A on his home club ground at Franklin’s Gardens. He had not become involved in rugby until the age of 14 when he developed his skills at Northampton Old Scouts while a pupil at Northampton School for Boys.
20 points – 4T
England: 2002 S, I, F, W, It, Arg, NZ, A, SA 2003 F, W, It, S, I, NZ, A, F(R), F World Cup – G, A, Sam(R), W, F, A 2004 It, S, I, W, F, NZ(1), A(R), C, SA, A 2005 W, F, I, It, S, A, NZ, Sam 2006 W, It, S, F, I(R) 2009 Arg(1R), A, Arg (R), NZ 2010 W(R), It(R), S(R), F(R), A(1,2), NZ, A(R), Sam(R), SA(R) 2011 W(R), It(R), F(R), S(R), I (R), W, I World Cup - Arg, G (R), R, S, F
Lions: 2005 Arg(R), NZ (1R,2)
Last updated: October 10, 2011