GUY Thompson was one of the less heralded arrivals at Wasps last summer, but the back row has been one of the club’s stand-out players, playing 17 times and scoring eight tries.

And it’s not like the black and golds are weak in that department, with James Haskell, Ashley Johnson, Sam Jones, Ed Jackson, Rory Pittman and Nathan Hughes all vying with him for three places.

However, the 27-year-old has taken the long road to the Aviva Premiership and after being released by Gloucester early in his career is relishing his second bite.

He said: “I couldn’t have asked for any more. Wherever you sign, you want to play week in, week out but realistically I didn’t think that would happen as quickly as it has.

“I’ve played a lot more than I thought and am really enjoying myself. But we’re working really hard off the field and that means whenever you do play you’re fully prepared and can take your chances.”

Thompson – who signed from Jersey in the Championship after being their top try scorer for two years in a row and the top try scorer at Richmond the year before – made his debut against Quins at Twickenham and hasn’t looked back since.

He said: “It’s a massive step up, it’s totally different. You don’t get half as much time on the ball, you don’t get as much space and it’s a lot quicker.

“It takes a while to get used to, but credit to the conditioning staff here at Wasps.

“When we got to that first game against Harlequins I felt comfortable and ready to go. We were in the best possible shape we could be.

“But to make you debut in front of 60,000 people at Twickenham for a team like Wasps, it’s something you aspire to and gives you that kick on. Then when it comes to other games you say I’ve just played in front of 60,000 people.

“It’s no different to any other game and before you know it you’re playing week in, week out and you don’t think too much about it.”