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LTTV

Guy Thompson: The job is not done yet

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Guy Thompson sits down with LTTV at the club's Oval Park training base to preview Saturday afternoon's Gallagher Premiership fixture between Leicester Tigers and Bristol Bears at Welford Road.

Guy Thompson was owed a day or two off after his heroics during the away win over Newcastle in the last round helped return Leicester to the winners list.

Thankfully, the back-rower got that well-earned break too.

Gifted Friday off by head coach Geordan Murphy, Thompson chose to spend his in the sunshine – one day on the golf course and the next with family.

“It was lovely ... I managed to go back and see some friends from school and play a little bit of golf,” Thompson told LTTV, when asked of how he spent his Easter long weekend.

“It was nice, my grandmother has recently gone in a home, so it was lovely to go and see her and spend the afternoon in the sun.”

Among other things, Thompson scored two tries and forced the match-winning penalty for the Tigers against the Falcons in Round 19 after several phases of defence on their own try-line in extra time and claimed the LeoVegas Fans’ Favourite award – deservedly so – for his efforts.

To be able to go and put in a performance like we did against Newcastle, we will take massive positives from it

Looking back on the win, Thompson admitted “relief” was the overwhelming emotion before quickly pointing out that focus quickly moved on from that to the next job for him and his Leicester team-mates.

“I think the feeling was more relief than anything ... because we're in a position as a squad we're not happy with,” he said.

“To be able to go and put in a performance like we did against Newcastle, we will take massive positives from it.

“But, we have to realise the job is not done yet.”

The next job is that of the Bristol Bears on Saturday afternoon, who come to Welford Road one place higher than Leicester on the Premiership ladder and with bragging rights after recording a 31-point, 41-10 win when the sides met earlier this season.

We are a different team now to where we were then, it's going to be a totally different occasion

However, Thompson says that neither “revenge” nor anything outside of their own performance is what Leicester are focused on.

“All we can focus on is what we do as a squad now,” said the 31 year old.

“This isn't about revenge ... we are purely focused on us this weekend.

“We've had two really good days training so far and we're really excited for the challenge that Bristol are going to present.”

Thompson, who didn’t feature in that meeting in early December, also believes that the Tigers team to take on the Bears this weekend are a much different outfit than that who went down at Ashton Gate – and let it be known he and Murphy’s men are ready for the fight.

“We are a different team now to where we were then, it's going to be a totally different occasion,” Thompson said.

“Bristol are coming to our home pitch, they are going to be in for a hell of a battle ... we're coming out fighting and have got a point to prove.”

The first to admit that home outings have not been up to scratch so far this season, Thompson also said any time Tigers take to the historic Welford Road turf is a matter of pride.

“We pride our self on our performances at Welford Road. We know we have had a couple where we have slipped up, but on the whole that's been a place we know we can go back to and put a performance together.”

One thing that will be very different to the meeting earlier this season is that of the game’s biggest crowd behind the team, according to Thompson.

“The fans will be huge for us this weekend ... they were superb in Newcastle and travelled a long way to give us that push. I know they are going to be the 16th man for us this weekend.”

It may seem crazy to change a winning formula, however Thompson could well lose his spot – where he made his man of the match performance against Newcastle – at No.8 after the return from suspension for Tonga international Sione Kalamafoni.

They [Bristol] are going to be in for a hell of a battle ... we're coming out fighting and have got a point to prove

However, it’s a squad effort and about much more than who wears the shirt that matters according to the back-rower. 

“We are extremely lucky here in our back row ... we push each other in training and make sure whoever gets the opportunity to wear the shirt does it justice,” he told LTTV.

As well as pushing each other in training, Thompson is well known both on and off the pitch as the club’s biggest ball of energy and opened up on why that is the case.

“The truth is that my role within the squad is energy,” said Thompson with a smile.

“As a back row player we should be leading the talk, leading the communication ... we need to be the link players between the backs and the forwards.

“As for talking too much, I probably do off the field ... but on the pitch I feel it is invaluable.”

Watch the full interview with Thompson below on LTTV.