Former Union Star Thomson on League Journey So Far
March 13, 2022
The mid-90s saw the rugby landscape change in both codes forever.
For the 13-player game on these shores, Super League was launched and matches moved from winter to summer. It was arguably the biggest change to the sport since breaking away from rugby union in 1895 after a dispute over payments to players.
Rugby union retained its amateur status until just before the Millenium when it moved into a professional era. Before the rules changed, many talented union stars who became luminaries of league such as Jonathan Davies, Martin Offiah and the late Va’aiga Tuigamala, switched codes.
But professionalism in union reversed the flow and subsequently players then started moving in the other direction – some were successful, others a dismal failure.
In more recent times, however, code switching has declined although for Cornwall RLFC’s very first competitive season in Betfred League 1, our squad will have plenty of rugby union experience.
Aaron Thomson is one former union player who has arrived at the Memorial Ground determined to make the switch to league a successful one after spending time with Premiership giants Exeter Chiefs and Wasps.
The 24-year-old linked up with the Choughs in February and he recently sat down with cornwallrlfc.co.uk to reflect on his first month in the Duchy.
“I think personally things have gone well and the feedback from Neil (Kelly, head coach) and the other coaches has been really good,” the German-born Scot began. “I am benefiting from my everything I’m learning to make the transition from rugby union to rugby league.
“The whole game set-up is completely different and despite being a very fit, physical rugby player, the fitness is something that has been really challenging. I have struggled at times, I’m not going to lie, so the fitness is probably my main goal going forward.
“I feel in myself that with every training session I am improving and I will be ready for the start of the season. I think I’m at the stage where I must do whatever feels right and signing for Cornwall has 100 per cent been the right thing to do.
“If there was anyone playing union who wanted to give league a go, I would urge them to give it a go.”
Thomson also hailed the team spirit within the Cornwall squad and says that 2022 is gearing up to be an ‘exciting time’ for rugby league’s newest club and him personally.
“From day one, I felt the squad had a real connection,” he added. “Although a lot of the lads didn’t know each other before joining the club, the group has been really welcoming. “I’m looking forward to playing games and making life-long friends at the same time. It is a really exciting time for me and the club and I think, all round, that we are gearing up for a really good season.”