Former All Blacks loose forward Adam Thomson has returned to professional rugby after a serious spinal infection kept him in hospital for almost two months at the beginning of last year.
He, alongside Fijian sevens star Vatemo Ravouvou, has been picked up by Major League Rugby side the Utah Warriors on a deal which will see the pair play for the side for the remainder of the 2019 season, as well as the entirety of the 2020 campaign.
Thomson’s return to professional rugby is nothing short of astonishing, given he spent 57 days in a Tokyo hospital from December 2017 to February 2018, suffering from lumbar discitis, a painful infection of the spine.
Now, after over a year-and-a-half out of the game with his last appearance as a professional player coming for the Canon Eagles in the Japanese Top League, Thomson will move to the United States as an injury replacement player for Jackson Kaka, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the MLR season with a neck and shoulder injury.
The 37-year-old brings with him a wealth of experience from a professional career spanning 15 years.
After debuting for Otago in the NPC as a 22-year-old in 2004, Thomson went on to amass 50 appearances for his province, played 68 times for the Highlanders in Super Rugby, and won 29 test caps for the All Blacks between 2008 and 2012, where he was a member of the World Cup-winning squad in 2011.
Ravouvou, meanwhile, will join the Warriors after having not featured for the Fijian sevens side since the Cape Town tournament of the 2018/19 World Series in December last year.
The 28-year-old has played in 38 World Series events since his debut in 2013, was part of the Fijian squad that claimed the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and played at both the Sevens World Cup and Commonwealth Games last year.
Although he has had limited experience in the XVs format of the game, he played four matches for the Western Sydney Rams in the Australian National Rugby Championship in 2016, plying his trade as either a first-five or fullback.
Despite reaching the semi-finals of last year’s inaugural edition of the MLR, the seventh-placed Warriors have endured a subpar sophomore campaign, as they trail a play-offs berth by 22 points with just five matches remaining.
Their next fixture comes this weekend, when they travel to Glendale to face last year’s runners-up, the Raptors, who currently lie in fifth, on Saturday.
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