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RUGBY UNION: Thorpe hoping to make up for lost time
RICHARD Thorpe hopes to go from water carrier to main man as London Welsh’s season gathers pace.
The experienced back-row forward made his first start of the campaign last week when the Exiles took on London Scottish in the British & Irish Cup.
Thorpe is likely to get another taste of action today, after being named as a replacement for the trip to Pontypridd.
And he admits he is playing catch up after taking longer than expected to recover form a broken arm sustained while at Leicester last season.
“It was a very frustrating time,” said the 28-year-old.
“I was diagnosed with a broken arm back in January.
“I was initially expecting it to be healed by the middle of June, but I wasn’t ready until the end of September.
“I have been trying to do anything that I can to keep involved.
“During the pre-season games I was bringing on the water and relaying the messages from the coaches to the players.”
Thorpe made his name at London Irish before joining Leicester in 2012, but knows his pedigree does not guarantee a place in the London Welsh team.
“The back row is very competitive at London Welsh,” he said. “It is probably the most competitive position.
“I am starting from behind now because I was not available at the beginning of the season.”
Thorpe had mixed feelings after making his debut in last week’s 32-26 defeat.
He said: “It just felt like for the majority of the game we weren’t quite firing on all cylinders, which was very disappointing.
“We expect a lot more from ourselves.
“From a personal perspective, it was great to get a bit of game time after so long out.
“Hopefully, that will hold me in good stead in developing my fitness.”
Welsh head coach Justin Burnell has rotated his squad heavily so far – and does so again today with 12 changes – but Thorpe expects there will soon be fewer alterations.
“He probably isn’t sure what his first XV is, so he has given all the players the chance to put their hands up,” said Thorpe.
He added: “With the start that we have made, we have looked really strong.
“The culture that we are creating is very positive. It is a great place to work every day.
“Justin said when we first got together that he wanted us to treat ourselves as a Premiership team in the Championship and that’s got to be the aim.
“We all want to play at as high a level as possible.”
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