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Injury-plagued Thompson looks to seize his opportunity against BaaBaas

STEVE THOMPSON is hoping his summer move back to the Guinness Premiership will help him reclaim his former No2 England jersey.

Thompson is set to complete his move from French club Brive to Leeds Carnegie, just four years after undergoing neck surgery and being told he risked paralysis by ever playing again.

The 31-year-old starts for England against the Barbarians at Twickenham this Sunday with the intention of holding down his place for the summer tour of Australia with Northampton’s Dylan Hartley out through injury.

“Playing for England is a massive pull for me,” said Thompson, who has lost five stone since making his first England start back in 2002.

“I have come through the injury and I want to keep challenging myself and playing at the highest level and I want a World Cup place. Sunday is a chance for me to cement that.

“I just hope to make the best of the opportunity. I see it as a great challenge at Leeds. I am more experienced now. I have played in a different culture. I have never been as fit or as strong as I am now.”