Rugby World Cup 2019: Blade Thomson gets emotional at 'wearing the thistle'

Kilted Kiwi Blade Thomson hasn't yet been to his Scottish grandfather's hometown but he says he was "trying to hold back the tears" when he made his Scotland test debut.

The former Hurricanes and Taranaki forward has been named as a No 8 in Scotland's Rugby World Cup squad after making his test bow last month following a long battle with concussion.

Asked by Scottish rugby journalist what qualities he would bring to the Scots' World Cup campaign, Thomson said: What type of player am I?" he muses. "I think I'm aggressive. I'll do whatever it takes for us to get the win. Whatever it takes."

Thomson, who plays for Welsh club Scarlets, qualifies to play for Scotland through his grandfather, Robert Thomson, who hails from Wishaw in North Lanarkshire.

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New Zealand-born No 8 Blade Thomson on the charge in his second test for Scotland against Georgia.
ROBERT PERRY/GETTY IMAGES
New Zealand-born No 8 Blade Thomson on the charge in his second test for Scotland against Georgia.

His rugby commitments have meant he has still not had a chance to visit the town, about 25km from Glasgow, but he plans to get there some day.

Thomson, an under-20 Rugby World Cup winner with New Zealand in 2010, was not overly aware of his Scottish roots while growing up in Gisborne, but he said he was "super proud" to play for Scotland.

"I was talking to Greig [Laidlaw] about it before my debut," he said. "Once we did the captain's run, some things were said in the changing room and it was amazing how much pride there was to pull on the Thistle and what it means to everyone.

Former Hurricanes and Taranaki hardman Blade Thomson before his Scotland debut at Murrayfield.
GETTY IMAGES
Former Hurricanes and Taranaki hardman Blade Thomson before his Scotland debut at Murrayfield.

"When I went out for my debut I was trying to hold back tears. For me and my family it's been a long, long journey."

Thomson joined Scarlets in 2017 and was due to debut for Scotland against Fiji last November when he suffered a slight head knock in a Pro 14 game against Edinburgh.

Recurring headaches kept him sidelined until April, forcing him to miss the Six Nations campaign.

He told The Times the recovery period was "tough. But you've just got to take it a day at a time. You are covering miles and inches, one training session at a time."

He suffered a slight concussion on his Scotland debut against France in Nice and left the field with a hamstring against Georgia, but he has bounced back from both and is tipped to be Scotland's starting No 8 in the must-win opening pool game against Ireland in Yokohama on September 22.

Thomson is joined in the Scotland team by Kiwi compatriots Sean Maitland and Simon Berghan.

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