Steve Thompson: Wasps is where I wanted to play

The England hooker's exclusive column

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The Independent Online

It was back to work this week as I finally linked up with London Wasps and I am really excited about starting the next stage of my career.

I was talking to a few clubs at the end of last season but Wasps was where I wanted to play. I was close to moving to here in 2005 and it has always been a club I liked and respected. Sometimes you just get a great feeling about club and that is what hit me about the place. You also just have to look at what they’ve won over the years, the players that have served them so well and the whole belief behind the ‘once a Wasp, always a Wasp’ to be hooked by the idea of joining the club.


One thing in particular that drew me to them was their treatment of French hooker Raphael Ibanez. Many people thought that he was finished when he left Saracens but he went on to join Wasps and enjoyed arguably the best years of his playing career. They clearly know how to prolong a player’s career and how to get the best out of them. That for me, along with the move down to London, seemed like the right challenge I needed in my life right now.


The option of a three-year deal was massive. Another club came in at the last minute with another two-year deal plus one offer but I said to Wasps let’s make this a three year deal and I’ll sign straight away because that was where I wanted to go. The deal was done and everyone was happy.


It was a shame that things didn’t work out at Leeds. I went there with high hopes and having had a great season the year before it looked like they might start to go somewhere. But their recruitment plans did not work out, top players left and they weren’t replaced. It was a shame because it is a great club and they are struggling again this year. They’ve also produced some great players like Danny Care, Tom Palmer, Jordan Crane and they have got some great youngsters coming through now but they need to keep hold of them.


The plans for the new ground may not have worked out and owner Steve Hayes may have put the club up for sale but everyone is still focused and training and playing well. The club is built on strong traditions and the future looks bright. Wasps would not have attracted me, Dai Young or the calibre of players they have if they were not heading in the right direction. I believe we are in safe hands and the owner is not about to just walk away. He will ensure that the right people are entrusted with the future of the club.

Next for me is a full week of training and hopefully I’ll be up for selection and play some sort of role against Worcester. I can’t wait.

Steve Thompson writes exclusively for, one of the world’s leading Rugby websites. To read the column in full, visit