A familiar face is set to line up in Jersey Reds’ ranks when the squad return to match action this August, with Guy Thompson returning to the Island after an eight-year absence.
The dynamic back-rower spent two seasons in Jersey from 2011 to 2013 after signing from Richmond, making around 50 competitive appearances for the Reds, who he helped to the National One title in 2011/12, and in surviving a tough baptism in the Greene King IPA Championship the following season.
Thompson, the son of a Jerseyman and with strong family links to the Island, left in 2013 after earning an opportunity to play in the top flight with Wasps, for whom he played around 100 games during a five-year stint.
A cross-Midlands move to Leicester in 2018 saw Thompson play 33 times for the Tigers, and most recently the 34-year-old has spent a season in the Championship with Ealing Trailfinders, who are currently contesting the Championship play-off with Saracens.
Thompson admitted he was “buzzing” ahead of making the move at the end of June.
“When I first spoke to Harvey and heard about the opportunity I was really excited,” he said. “I owe so much to Jersey after getting my first professional contract with the club, so it’s great to have the chance to return and give as much back as I can.
“With my Dad being from Jersey and having family here it feels like I’m coming home – I left previously because I had the chance to play in the Premiership and now I’ll be coming full circle.”
Having had the chance to learn from experienced professionals during his previous stint with the Reds, Thompson said he hoped to play a similar role as ‘senior pro’.
“When I was here there were guys like Ben Evans and Barry Davies who’d played at the top level and were able to pass on their experience, and now I’m looking forward to training and playing alongside younger guys who may be on a similar journey,” he added.
Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon said: “One thing that stood out when I spoke to Guy was that he wanted to return to Jersey and give something back. He has experienced what it takes to play professionally in the top flight and it will be invaluable to have him working alongside what is generally a pretty young squad, as well as contributing very significantly on the field himself.”
Thompson (pictured above by Sue Trower) will also hope to maintain his prodigious try-scoring record with the Reds, having scored 25 tries during his two seasons on the Island and amassed around 80 tries with the five clubs he has played for since joining Richmond in 2010.
The Reds, who expect to announce further new signings when the squad arrive for pre-season training in early July, are planning several pre-season matches ahead of the 2021/22 Championship season starting in mid-September. The first game to be announced with see Thompson’s former club Leicester Tigers travel to Jersey for a training camp in late August that will conclude with a match against the Reds at Stade Santander International on Friday August 27th (k-o 5pm).