New Orleans Gold Rugby Club signed Kane Thompson for a three-year extension through the 2022 Major League Rugby season. The 37-year-old lock/No.8 is 6’7″ and weighs 249 lbs. He will be 38 prior to the 2020 season and played in 15 of the team’s 16 games in 2019.
Thompson, who is from Wellington, New Zealand, will fulfill an important team need at lock. Last season. John Sullivan played most of the season at lock instead of his natural back-row position.
Thompson is a season veteran rugby player. He played for Wellington College from 2002-2005 for the Wellington Lions in the National Provincial Championship. He then played in the Mitre 10 Cup for Southland from 2005-07 and for the Highlanders from 2006-2007.
Thompson then left New Zealand and played for Dax in the French Rugby ProD2 League from 2007-2010. Then it was back to Southland in 2010, Hawke’s Bay in 2011, before playing Super Rugby with the Chiefs in 2012. For the remainder of 2012, he played in the Japan Top League for the Canon Eagles.
In 2014 Thompson returned to the Chiefs, making six appearances before signing with the English Premiership Newcastle Falcons from 2014-2016.
In 2016 he returned to New Zealand to play with the Manawatu Turbos and in 2017 with the Taranaki Bulls. In 2017 he also attended Massey University.
National Team Rugby
Thompson began representative rugby, playing for the New Zealand Under-21s, making eight appearances from 2002-2003.
He played Senior International rugby for Samoa, his grandmother’s home nation, from 2007-2015. The first of his 33 caps came when he debuted against Fiji at Apia on May 19, 2007. His last test was against Scotland at Newcastle on October 10, 2015. During his 33 appearances, he started 29 times.
Thompson also played in three Rugby World Cups in 2007, 2011, and in 2015. He started all ten of his appearances.
New Orleans Gold Rugby Club
Kane Thompson strength is in the set pieces. That makes him a valuable addition to Nola Gold Rugby Club.
Ryan Fitzgerald, General Manager, said that “Kane was an extremely valuable piece for us last year and instrumental to our success. The knowledge, experience, toughness, and physicality that he brings is a huge factor.
The young guys coming up learned a ton from Kane and he helped bring them up to speed quickly. It’s like having another coach on the field.
He’s a tremendous leader and we’re really looking forward to having him on board for the next three years in that same player-coach role.”