Retiring RaboDirect Rebels lock Chris Thomson won’t be lost to the Rebels, having excelled in a number of different roles since he retired, Thomson has accepted a permanent role, as the Rebels Assistant Team Manager effective immediately.
Thomson joins a host of former players who have transitioned into the Rebels off field staff, which includes former Rebels and Wallabies Stirling Mortlock (Director) Adam Freier and Nic Henderson.
Thomson admits he didn’t expect the transition to feel so seamless.
“Immediately after I announced my retirement, I had a couple of weeks off and went home and spent time with my family,” he explains. “It was really important for me, as I wasn’t in the greatest space mentally, but when I came back the Club looked after me really well and I moved in to the off-field staff helping out with the coaching and also in the corporate and sponsorship department.
“I have had a game-day involvement, speaking with sponsors and fans, and also getting the opportunity to spend a couple of days with sponsors and their clients as well; it has been very interesting, and I have really enjoyed that as well.”
Following his retirement announcement, Thomson quickly became an asset to the off-field side of the organisation, and has also worked with Victorian representative teams this year.
“I was the Manager of the Victorian Schoolboys team, and also helped out with some of their coaching as well. Victoria has an abundance of talent, as the success of our Junior Gold Cup teams has shown, and it is really about creating that pathway for the boys to become local Rebels. I really do think that if the players knuckle down, there is plenty of talent here for that to happen.
“I will also continue to be involved with the training of the Melbourne Rising team for the upcoming NRC; it’s great to see how keen all the boys in the Extended Training Squad are. I played in the ARC back in 2007, so I know how important this competition is for the Australian Rugby landscape, especially with the opportunities that it provides local players to achieve Super Rugby contracts.”
Moving into the off-field side of Rugby is in the blood for Thomson, and he will again switch his focus as he begins a new role that will again see him embedded well within the heart of the Rebels team in 2015.
“I guess it is something which I have always thought about and I have been involved in professional sport for a long time,” he says. “My father (Phil) was the Team Manager of the Brumbies when Super Rugby first started and I was just a kid, and has worked in Rugby for a very long time, so I don’t really know much different. I love the game, so it has been a fairly easy transition for me.
“I have really enjoyed my time in Melbourne and I will stay down here, having accepted a permanent role as the Assistant Team Manager. I am following in my father’s footsteps again, and I am really excited about that opportunity. Retiring was fairly scary there, not really knowing what was on the other side of the door, so it is both relieving but also exciting to stay involved in this organisation.”
Thomson is also positive when he looks at the future of the Rebels on the field, despite the Club’s finish to the 2014 season.
“I think positive things are definitely coming,” he says. “The Club has changed and is moving in the right direction, and while it has been a long season and particularly the back end of it has been disappointing, it’s all a learning curve with this young group and keeping this core group together for the next three, four or five years is integral to the success that this Club will achieve.”