Recalled loose forward Adam Thomson is determined to stake his claim for a regular starting role in the All Blacks’ XV with a worthy performance against Ireland
Thomson, 30, replaces the injured Victor Vito - sidelined for up to five weeks - at blindside flank for Saturday’s second Test against the Irish in Christchurch.
The athletic Thomson brings different credentials to the number six jersey compared to Vito who’s seen as a more physical player, and the Highlanders star is eager to seize the opening handed to him.
“It’s a shame for him (Vito), but it’s an opportunity for me to now nail that spot,” said Thomson.
Whilst Vito’s knee injury gives Thomson the inside running for the position, 20-year-old Sam Cane has been added to New Zealand’s bench and will be relishing a chance to prove his worth if handed a first Test cap.
However, Thomson feels the added competition from a crop of young loose forwards - such as Cane, Brad Shields and Luke Whitelock - currently snapping at his heels, will only make the All Blacks a better unit and welcomes the challenge.
“If those guys are playing better rugby than me and they deserve to be wearing the jersey then I’m ready to step down and give it to them,” said Thomson.
“It doesn’t mean that I’m not going to give them a helluva fight, but we’re all about sharing in the environment and whether you’re starting or not everyone is working for the team to win.”