Celtic Challenge: Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors both boosted by international centre call-ups

Lisa Thomson and Beth Blacklock to make their debuts in penultimate round of 2023-24 campaign

Lisa Thomson has been released by GB Sevens camp to play for Edinburgh this weekend. Image: Edinburgh Rugby
Lisa Thomson has been released by GB Sevens camp to play for Edinburgh this weekend. Image: Edinburgh Rugby

SCOTLAND star Lisa Thomson has been released from GB Sevens camp to make her Edinburgh Rugby debut against Gwalia Lightning at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday. The 55-times capped centre’s selection is one of three changes made to the starting XV by head coach Claire Cruikshank.

Thomson takes the place of Briar McNamara in the midfield, with the Watsonians inside centre named among the replacements.

In the pack, University of Edinburgh’s Poppy Fletcher starts at loosehead prop with Exeter Chiefs’ Panashe Muzambe moving to the bench, and Corstorphine Cougars’ lock Adelle Ferrie gets the nod in the second row with Saracens’ Fiona McIntosh unavailable for selection.

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Edinburgh and Lightning currently share second place in the Celtic Challenge table (10 points each from three games) with this week’s matches and next week’s final round still to play. Wolfhounds lead the way with 14 points.

“After picking up a hard-fought win against the Thunder in Llanelli a fortnight ago, we return to Wales with plenty of confidence,” said Cruikshank. “This team is now really starting to find its feet and our self-belief is building with every 80-minute performance.

“We name a consistent side, making just three changes to the starting XV that won at Parc y Scarlets. We’re excited to see Lisa [Thomson] get her first run out for the club. She brings a huge amount of game knowledge and experience, and our young backline will only benefit from playing alongside her.

“With the race for the play-offs heating up, it’s set to be another massive Celtic Challenge clash. We’re once again excited for the opportunity to represent Edinburgh and our squad are relishing the challenge of facing a talented Lightning side on their home turf.”

Edinburgh Rugby (v Gwalia Lightning at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday @ 1.30pm): N Marlowe; N Flynn, E Orr, L Thomson, C Bell; S Denholm©, C Mattinson; P Fletcher, M Whitehouse, M Poolman, A Ferrie, N Logan, M Gunderson, A Stewart, F Walker. Subs: A Ronald, P Muzambe, K Lindsay, S Murphy, G Bell, L Brebner-Holden, B McNamara, H Walker.


MEANWHILE, Glasgow Warriors are also bolstered by the selection of an international centre in the shape of Beth Blacklock, who been released by Saracens.  Warriors head coach Chris Laidlaw makes four changes for their clash against in Clovers at Scotstoun on Saturday afternoon.

Eve Thomson makes her first start in Glasgow colours in the second row, Holland Bogan returns to the starting line-up at blindside flanker and Izzy Hannay comes in at openside as Warriors hunt their first win at the fourth attempt in this Celtic Challenge campaign.

Another potential Glasgow Warriors debutant awaits her opportunity from the replacements, as Garioch’s Megan Hyland is handed her first outing in a matchday 23.

“We’ve had a bit of time to sit down and reflect on the programme so far, and the girls have come back in this week with a great energy ready to get stuck in,” said Laidlaw.

“We’re pleased to reward Eve Thomson for her efforts with an opportunity to earn her first start, and Megan Hyland has worked incredibly hard for her shot on the bench too. They’re two players who work hard and are well liked within the group, and we look forward to seeing them on Saturday.

“The experience of Mairi [McDonald] and Beth [Blacklock] in the back line will also be invaluable, and we’re excited to welcome Beth to the group. It’s a team we feel can go out and do the job, and we look forward to running out at home again tomorrow.”

Glasgow Warriors (v Clovers at Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday @ 2pm): C McDonald; S Phimister, L MacRae, B Blacklock, P Snailham; C Ainsworth, M McDonald; A Tucker, N Simpson, E Fleming, E Thomson, E Turner co-©, H Bogan, I Hannay, L Winter. Subs: K Craig, D Swann, C Brown, E Williamson, M Hyland, R Clarke co-©, G Chicot, R Fraser.

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About David Barnes 3817 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

1 Comment

  1. This competition is great for the woman’s game, players and coaches. Let’s hope at least one of our teams can make the play offs. 🐻

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