KANE Thompson loved his first taste of Aviva Premiership Rugby action last season, but the Newcastle Falcons lock insists that was only just the beginning.
Having grown up in Wellington Thompson’s love of rugby is evident as he strutted his stuff for clubs in New Zealand, France and Japan before arriving in England in July 2014.
He quickly become an integral part of the Falcons squad as he featured 11 times as Newcastle went on to finish 11th in the last Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign.
But as the new season edges ever closer, the 33-year-old is adamant his love affair with the English game will only increase – especially as he continues to find his feet on Kingston park’s innovative artificial surface.
"Premiership Rugby is a great competition and I think people should get along and support it especially on our field here at Newcastle," said Thompson, who’s interview was part of a new campaign from Premiership Rugby and Aviva to welcome new supporters to Aviva Premiership Rugby this season.
"There will be a lot of running rugby and a different game and I think a lot of people support football over here but rugby is great."
To apply for FREE tickets as part of the Aviva Premiership Rugby First Timers campaign click here
Thompson is one of more than a dozen club ambassadors – including Chris Robshaw, James Haskell, Schalk Brits and Courtney Lawes – who are backing the 'Aviva Premiership Rugby First Timers' campaign.
"There is so much action on the television as well, off the ball and what goes on with the replacements coming on and just the physicality of it when you see it live.
"The Premiership is a strong competition and I am excited to come over here and play in it.
"I am used to playing in New Zealand and I have played in France but this offered something different and it is a touch more physical and I was really excited to get amongst that and test it out against some other competitions I have played in."
The second rower admits international rugby was what helped him fall in love with the sport.
"I remember the first time I ever watched rugby," Thompson added. "I had obviously been brought up with rugby and played my first game aged four and one of the games that sticks out in my mind is a game I went to that was the All Blacks versus France.
"I probably fell in love with the French style of rugby after that game because I think they beat the All Blacks as they scored three tries to win the game."
The Aviva Premiership Rugby First Timers campaign will give away almost 2,000 free tickets for every game in the first seven rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby matches, from the start of the season right up to Christmas. Fans are encouraged to tell their friends and family, who have never been to a game before, to visit www.premiershiprugby.com/avivafirsttimers to apply for a free pair of tickets.