Sunday 20 October 2019

Japan lock Luke Thompson hits out at Irish media following stunning win

Japan's lock Luke Thompson (C) is tackled
Japan's lock Luke Thompson (C) is tackled

Cian Tracey in Shizuoka

Japan lock Luke Thompson has hit out at the Irish media for not giving his side a chance in Saturday's shock upset.

Thompson, who formerly lined out for Blackrock in the All-Ireland League during his time living in Dublin, suggested that his team used that attitude as extra motivation in Japan's stunning 19-12 win.

The 38-year old put in a huge shift as he made 19 tackles in a performance that defied his advancing years.

"It's right up there," Thompson said of the Brave Blossoms' epic victory in Shizuoka.

"South Africa was amazing and this was truly amazing as well. Everyone had written us off.

"All the Irish media were talking about South Africa and how they are going to play them in the quarter-finals and what they have to do. So we know what we have to do. It's a very special moment."

Thompson had called time on his career four years ago but was tempted out of retirement by head coach Jamie Joseph. That has proved to be an inspired decision.

"I just got the itch," the Kiwi born lock beamed.

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"I saw the boys playing and I was watching them last year and I must have been very animated watching it because my wife said, 'Do you want to be still out there?' and I said, 'Yeah, yeah, I'd love to be out there'.

"And she said, 'Well, why don't you?' I was saying, 'Aw no, I've retired' but I thought about it and she said that if I wanted to do it that they would support me.

"I made myself available and had to work my way back in. Nights like tonight, that's why, playing in a World Cup and beating the No.1 team in the world. That's what dreams are made of."

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