Red Roses legend backs The Players Platform

Lydia Thompson says The Players Platform is ‘an amazing opportunity’ for clubs and players to connect and insists grassroots sport gave her the platform to play at the highest level.

Lydia Thompson started her rugby-playing journey at Stourbridge RFC

Thompson, 32, who has 58 Red Roses caps, cut her rugby-playing teeth at her local club Stourbridge RFC before making the move to Worcester Warriors in 2010.

Winning multiple Six Nations Grand Slams with England, the explosive winger has put her weight behind The Players Platform, spearheaded by father-son duo Dean and Will Richards.

“The Players Platform increases the possibilities for a player to play at the highest level possible, and that’s important for an athlete,” said Thompson.

“This platform is a players’ showcase. You may not have had the right start, or you may have had a big injury which has set you back. Ultimately, you should have the opportunity to show clubs what you can do.

“Rugby for me, has allowed me to travel and it has opened up doors as well as enabling me to learn new skills.

“Having a platform where clubs and players can connect is hugely important.”

Nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year in 2017, Thompson was part of the 2018 England Commonwealth Games team which won bronze in Australia. She returned to the 15-aside format shortly after, and took her game to new heights under the stewardship of England head coach Simon Middleton.

However, it all started at Stourbridge RFC, which Thompson says opened up a new world for her.

“When I started training with the girls section at Stourbridge RFC, it confirmed to me that I wanted to give rugby a go,” added Thompson.

“Grassroots level rugby has been so important and it is where you go to when you want to learn new skills, learn your craft and build your community.

“We have rugby clubs and football clubs all over the country with amazing coaches and volunteers.”