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Chiefs player Adam Thomson will bring up a century of Super Rugby caps if he gets on the field against the Blues tomorrow.
Thomson’s career has been one of stickability and surprises.
He first came on the scene as a student at the University of Otago, having made New Zealand age grade sides. when at school in Christchurch.
But he was a bit of a slow burner and at one time was almost going to leave Otago and head elsewhere.
The loose forward eventually made an impact in 2008 when in his first full season for the Highlanders he impressed so much he was called in to the All Blacks. He was one of the stars of the Highlanders for the next five seasons and played 67 games for the side before leaving for Japan after the 2012 season. He picked up 29 test caps in that period.
Thomson then joined the Reds and played 15 games in 2015 and notched up 13 games for the Rebels the following year.
Back in Japan, at the end of 2017 he was rushed to hospital with a spinal infection. There were fears about his health but a long recovery and rest had him back to full health.
Thomson did not lose his thirst for the game and after playing a few club games in North Harbour last year he was whistled up to play for Otago in last year’s Mitre 10 Cup.
Thomson ended up playing eight games for Otago last year.
Then in January this year, Thomson was brought into the Chiefs as injury cover and has remained with the side. He is on the bench to play the Blues.
Thomson (38) said it had been an exceptional journey to reach 100 Super Rugby games and it would be a special moment tomorrow.
"It’s pretty crazy — I let this dream go a while ago, so to do it at this age with a team like the Chiefs is pretty special and I am very much looking forward to it. The extra edge is coming back from the major illness and being able to have the opportunity of coming back and starting at club level scrapping my way through Mitre 10 Cup and then returning to Super," he said.
"I would not have believed it a couple of years back, but I am just grateful to be playing at this level. Every day for me is a bonus and this is a great environment to be in and however I can contribute — whether that is playing or off the field — that is what I will do."
Thomson was impressive for the Highlanders in his first stint. The ability to nab turnovers, make tackles and be all round the field made him one of the best loose forwards in the competition. The open style suited his game, although he was often said to be too light.