Thompson backing Warrior Nation against Lions roar
When it comes to first impressions, Ross Thompson is developing into something of a master in Glasgow colours.
After all, being voted as the McCrea Financial Services Player of the Season in his debut campaign as a Warrior is a pretty good indicator that you’ve got the supporters on side.
? How good having all the fans back at Scotstoun!
For Thompson, though, there was one first impression that he definitely wanted to get right. Having made his breakthrough behind closed doors, Saturday’s victory over the Cell C Sharks was the first time the young fly-half was able to experience the Scotstoun roar in full voice for a competitive match.
“Yeah, it was really good fun to be honest,” Thompson smiled as he sat down with glasgowwarriors.org.
“It was the first time playing a competitive game in front of a full crowd at Scotstoun for a lot of us, so I definitely felt a bit more nervous going into the Sharks game than I did for the games at the back end of last season!
“It was so good to be back, though. I thought we played some great rugby for the first 50 minutes or so of the match, and to get a bonus-point win against a team of that calibre is excellent. Above all, though, it was amazing to be able to run out in front of the Warrior Nation for the first time.”
As has been his tendency during his fledgling career to date, Thompson pulled all the right strings in the 35-24 victory, including steering his side to a bonus-point before the close of play in the first half.
It was the 22-year-old himself who set the wheels in motion for the hosts, crossing under the posts for his first try at Scotstoun with just 90 seconds on the clock.
“I don’t think anyone expected Demmo [Jack Dempsey] to chuck the offload to Rufus [McLean] – Rufus probably should have scored it himself, but he was clearly feeling nice and left it for me!” laughed Thompson when asked to reflect on the score.
“I had the easy bit once the boys up front won the lineout and set up the maul, I just had to saunter over after Sammy [Johnson] gave me the pass.
“We knew it would be important to start the game well and that really set us off and running. That was some of the best rugby we’ve played in a while, and some of the tries we scored were great to see.”
Despite deservedly taking all five match points on offer, though, Thompson echoed the sentiments expressed by the club’s coaching team in the wake of the final whistle on Saturday. Whilst the result was celebrated by fans and players alike, there is still a lot to come from the 2021/22 vintage of Glasgow Warriors.
“There are a couple of things we know we need to tidy up ahead of this weekend,” said Thompson.
“We know we let the Sharks back in a couple of times through our mistakes, most of which were around execution of skills.
“If you give a team like that half a chance, they’ll usually take it. If we can tidy those up, then we’ll be in good shape.”
Another South African test awaits Thompson and company this coming Saturday, as the Emirates Lions arrive at Scotstoun for their inaugural meeting with the Warriors.
“I think the Lions will be similar in a lot of ways to the Sharks,” said the fly-half.
“They’ve got a physical pack and some electric backs, and we know we can’t afford to kick loosely to them. If you cough up too much ball, they’ll pounce on that.
“We’ll be trying to control possession and make sure our defence is ready for anything they throw our way.”
There’s one element that Thompson believes will be key, however. With the Warrior Nation restored to the stands, the scene is set for another memorable afternoon in Glasgow’s west end.
“At moments in the match, you can just feel them – the outburst of noise gives you that extra lift you need,” said Thompson.
“Because I’ve never really played consistently in front of large crowds, it was really noticeable just how much of an impact the crowd being in your favour can have.
“It can really play a significant part and at critical moments in the match, the crowd makes such a massive difference.”