Oct 25, 2018
Thompson-Stringer relishing Premiership Rugby Cup opportunity
Hayden Thompson-Stringer believes his short spell learning his trade as a prop in Australia helped him mature as a player and a person.
The former England Under-20 international made the transition from back row to the front of the scrum three years ago and was sent to play for Manly RFC in Sydney to become accustomed to the position.
It also proved beneficial for the 23-year-old off the field as he realised what he had back home.
“It was completely different,” he said. “Out there it was so relaxed, but I was able to mature as a person. You have to work for everything and sometimes we underestimate how much we’re actually given at this club and we take it for granted.
“I feel like when I went to Australia it opened my eyes to a lot of things; I wasn’t able to just go out and relax. I was working as well, I didn’t have to, but I wanted to just to push myself. I was training, going to the gym myself, getting a bus to training every day and it was one of those things where I had to mature and come back show the club I had matured into a professional athlete.
“I got myself a good 16 games in a row at prop, really pushed myself and that gave me the confidence I needed to come back and really push on. I think I proved that I’m a quicker learner and willing to do whatever it takes to get to that next level.
“That was tough, but I think the biggest thing for me was finding how to develop and mature myself. I wasn’t the best and I took a lot for granted when I first joined the academy and I had to understand what it meant to get this opportunity to push myself.
“That’s why I’m so hard on myself when I don’t have a good game as I want to be playing regularly, I want to be pushing myself to the next level. Someone people mature in different ways and at different stages and that’s just how I did it.”
Thompson-Stringer has been part of Saracens Storm’s successful start to the Premiership Rugby Shield.
Storm are currently first in the Southern Conference and the ex-Bedford Blues loanee believes the way the squad train is a key factor to that and will result in more first team chances as will featuring in the Premiership Rugby Cup, starting this weekend against Leicester Tigers at Allianz Park.
“We come in week-in, week-out trying to push ourselves as we know there will be opportunities throughout the season,” he explained.
“It’s about us being ready as a non-playing squad when that opportunity comes and the boys are chomping at the bit and raring to go.
“Shield has gone really well and those games have been really good for us; it’s good for us to get an opportunity this weekend after training hard and playing well for Storm.
“The Premiership Rugby Cup games are a chance for young guys to prove themselves and this could push the players on to another level they didn’t even know they could go, and then they’re getting picked in first team games. These games are always good for younger lads and I still think it’s a good opportunity for myself.”