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Gisborne’s Thomson to start in Scotland pack


FORMER Gisborne Boys’ High School student Blade Thomson will make his debut for the Scottish rugby team this weekend.

Poverty Bay coach, and Boys’ High assistant principal, Tom Cairns was delighted with the news.

“I’m stoked about that,” he said.

“He’s a great man — he really deserves it.”

Cairns said Thomson had not forgotten his Gisborne roots — he had been in the city recently to present jerseys to the first 15.

He described Thomson as “freakishly athletic” in his school days — a forward with aerial ability who could bust a game wide open.

The No.8 is one of 14 changes to the Scotland side who will play against France at Murrayfield after they were well beaten in Nice last weekend.

Thomson, 28, made the Scotland squad in October last year but concussion prevented him from getting on the park.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend told The Scotsman newspaper Thomson had been in the mix for a while and his conditioning had improved.

“He is a very skilful player who can offload the ball well, who can make good decisions over when to pass and when to carry,” he said.

“He is an excellent lineout forward and he has an edge about him.”

Thomson plays for Welsh club Scarlets and is eligible for Scotland through his paternal grandfather Robert.

He had his first game for the Gisborne Boys’ High School first 15 in 2006 when he was 15.

He was a key player in the 2007 Gisborne team who won the national secondary schools title.

Charlie Ngatai and Jamison Gibson-Park were coming through about the same time.

Thomson was a member of the New Zealand under-20 team who won the 2010 junior world cup in Argentina.

He played 47 matches for Taranaki in 2010 and 45 games for the Hurricanes between 2013 and 2018.

He also had six appearances for the Maori All Blacks.

He has battled back from shoulder injuries to return to top-flight rugby.

Last weekend, France defeated Scotland 32-3 at the Allianz Riviera in Nice.

Fullback Stuart Hogg was the only starter retained for the return match at Murrayfield.

Blade Thomson