Alex Thompson was hoping to be involved in Ulster ‘A’’s back to back games against the Scarlets Premiership Select but a knee injury sustained in Queen’s defeat at the Dub against Banbridge means he won’t see any action until the new year.
The Queen’s lock had been involved in three of the first four ‘A’ games this season and put in an eye catching performance in the defeat against Leinster A at Ballymacarn Park.
“I was lucky enough to get off the bench in the first game I was involved and I started the second one and it was good to get 80 minutes and I enjoyed it,” said Thompson.
“There is plenty of hard work to be done but I’m working hard, we have a great system in there and I’m backing myself to get bigger and stronger and hopefully I’ll just keep my head down and work my way up.”
Thompson has enjoyed the step up to AIL rugby and Ulster A.
“There is always the comradery of playing with a team, at Queen’s you’re playing with the younger boys so you’re playing with the so called underdogs but you love the game and the sport no matter who you are playing with and as long as you’re with a good team you can’t go wrong.
“QUB is a great club and talking to anybody that has played there they give it great reviews, it’s a great bunch of lads and a great bunch of coaches, we’re really pushing on for promotion this year.”
Thompson’s two school’s cup winning medals for Methody came after he was spotted playing at another school.
“I was at Banbridge Academy for five years and then Banbridge were playing Methody and I got roped in one way or another and I had two good years at Methody winning two School’s Cups.
“I had a great time at Banbridge then at Methody.Now in the Ulster Academy I’m left counting my blessings and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have had the rugby career I’ve had so far.”
Thompson has been capped by Ireland at age group level and is part of the Ulster Academy.
“I was lucky enough to be selected for the Irish 20’s last year and that was a real taster of the professional side of things and at the end of the day that’s what I want to push on for and that is the dream so keep working hard and hopefully get there.”
Thompson is hoping to get a development contract with Ulster.
“If that opportunity came along you would take it with both hands, the academy at the minute with university is hand, you train early in the morning then you have the day at university and then you train in the evening and it is a very good system, Kieran Campbell and David Drake have done a great job in balancing it out and Alex Codling has been a great influence this year as well.”
Ulster A coach Codling was capped by Sir Clive Woodward for England in the second row and Thompson has been happy to tap into his wealth of experience.
“This year has been one of the biggest changes for me with Alex coming in, you can pick his brain in the one to ones and having a coach who has that experience it gives you that confidence to go to talk to him about anything and he’ll know what you mean and he has the years under his belt to tell you all about it so him coming in has made a big difference.”
Thompson just wants to keep working hard on his game.
“The main ambition for the rest of the season is to get as much game time as I can, hopefully I can push on and get as much A game time as I can and keep playing for Queen’s and win games and push on for promotion.”