Blade Thomson set for Scotland bow

The 28-year-old missed the autumn internationals and Six Nations with concussion.

By Press Association Published: 21 August 2019 - 11.28am


Rugby Union

Gregor Townsend

Blade Thomson will make his long-awaited Scotland debut during Saturday’s rematch with France at Murrayfield.

Scarlets number 8 Thomson missed the autumn internationals and Six Nations with concussion.

Full-back Stuart Hogg is the only player retained in the starting line-up by Gregor Townsend following last weekend’s 32-3 defeat to Les Bleus in Nice.

Head coach Townsend has opted to recall several experienced players, with scrum-half Greig Laidlaw selected to captain the team, and stand-off Finn Russell and wings Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour also coming in.

New Zealand-born Thomson, who qualifies to play for Scotland through his paternal grandfather, will be joined in the back-row by Hamish Watson and Ryan Wilson.

Scott Cummings has been handed a first start after coming off the bench at Allianz Riviera for his international debut and will combine with Sam Skinner in the second row.

Peter Horne and Chris Harris form the centre partnership, with props Gordon Reid and Willem Nel either side of hooker George Turner.

Townsend told “Our first outing of the season was a disappointment and not reflective of the hard work our players have put in over the past two months.

“France are a very dangerous side if you give them space and quick ball to play, which is what we allowed to happen on too many occasions last week. Our focus all week has been to remedy this and also create much more from our attacking game.

“It was a stark reminder of how tough things can be at international level if our standards slip.

“We expect our players to show a much truer picture of themselves this Saturday.”

Stuart Hogg is the only player retained from last weekend's heavy defeat in Nice
Stuart Hogg is the only player retained from last weekend’s heavy defeat in Nice (Graham Stuart/PA

Scotland, whose best World Cup finish was fourth in 1991, have been selected in Pool A alongside Ireland, Russia, Samoa and hosts Japan for this year’s tournament.

After Saturday’s second meeting with France, Townsend’s men face a home and away double-header against Georgia before their World Cup campaign begins against Ireland on September 22 in Yokohama.

Team to play France: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Chris Harris, Pete Horne, Sean Maitland, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw, Gordon Reid, George Turner, Willem Nel, Scott Cummings, Sam Skinner, Ryan Wilson, Hamish Watson, Blade Thomson.

Substitutes: Grant Stewart, Allan Dell, Simon Berghan, Grant Gilchrist, John Barclay, George Horne, Rory Hutchinson, Blair Kinghorn.