Driven by desire for Bristol's champagne!
The Rugby Paper|June 21, 2020
Driven by desire for Bristol's champagne!
MY LIFEIN RUGBY HAYDN THOMAS THE FORMER EXETER CHIEFS, GLOUCESTER & BRISTOL SCRUM-HALF
Jon Newcombe

THE other day we had a 10th anniversary Zoom chat about our Championship play-off win over Bristol and everyone agreed how privileged we all were to be a part of such a special day in the club’s history. I’m really proud to have been involved in the Chiefs’ journey from that point right the way through to winning the Premiership in 2017.

Looking back, over the two legs I just think we had more hunger to succeed than Bristol. Part of my hunger was fuelled by Ali Hepher’s pre-match claim that Bristol had crates of champagne in their dressing room ready to celebrate.

After the final whistle, I still had no reason to suspect he’d made it all up and asked if he’d go and see if they’d be happy to sell us the champagne as it would be a shame for it to go to waste. That’s when he told me there was no champagne. He had me! Although I didn’t need any extra motivation for such a big game, I definitely found another gear because I was left thinking, ‘how could they disrespect us like this?’ That Chiefs squad was so tight-knit, similar to the one I joined in 2003. That bond of togetherness and cohesiveness runs through all Chiefs squads.

I moved down to Devon after being released from Bath’s academy, transferring to Exeter University for the final two years as a chemistry student. I use that experience as an example to some of our academy lads – that sometimes the path you are on is not always the right path and you may have to choose a different way.

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June 21, 2020