EDINBURGH have signed former Glasgow Warriors prospect Sam Thomson. The 25-year-old second-row joins Richard Cockerill’s side from Warringah Rugby Club in Sydney, Australia, where he has playing since 2017, and will link up with the squad ahead of the upcoming league campaign. It is understood he has signed on a one-year deal.
“I’ve been in Australia for three seasons now and loved my time out here, but the opportunity to come home and play in a professional environment is exactly what I’ve been working for,” said Thomson. “I’m looking forward to challenging myself in the PRO14 and contributing towards the success of the club this coming season.”
Born in Edinburgh, Thomson came through the ranks at Kelvinside Academy (that prolific second-row nursery which also produced Richie Gray, Scott Cummings and Andrew Davidson) and represented Glasgow District at Under-15, Under-16 and Under 17 levels, before heading south to attend the University of Worcester while playing for Lydney RFC. During that period he also represented Scottish Exiles Under-18’s – before joining New Zealand-based South Bridge Rugby for a six-month stint in 2015.
Thomson was recruited to the Perpignan Academy ahead of the 2015-2016 season, but returned to Scotland the following year where he enrolled as a Stage 3 player with the Scottish Rugby Academy while aligned to Glasgow Warriors. The 6ft 6in lock made his competitive debut for the Scotstoun club against Ulster in September 2016, but after sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury he made the move to Australia where he joined Warringah Rugby Club.
Thomson was an instant success down under and played a major role as ‘The Rats’ lifted the Shute Shield in 2017, defeating Northern Suburbs 30-25 in the final. In two further seasons in Australia, he competed in the National Rugby Championship for the Greater Sydney Rams, NSW Country and Sydney while continuing to feature for Warringah. Statistically one of the best locks in the Shute Shield, Thomson led the league in line- out wins and steals in consecutive seasons, while the second-row was once again a key figure as the Sydney club reached back-to-back finals in 2018 and 2019.
“We’re delighted to have secured the signing of Sam. He is a lock who possess both size and skill and we’re excited to see how that skillset develops further within our pack,” said Edinburgh Head Coach Richard Cockerill. “Sam has played a fast-paced style of rugby in both the Shute Shield and NRC in Australia, so we hope that match experience will translate into the type of game we’re trying develop here at Edinburgh.
“We’ve obviously lost a large number of our pack to the World Cup, so we’re keen to see Sam hit the ground running and make an impact from the get-go.”
Thomson spoke to The Sunday Times newspaper last month and indicated at that time that he did not see a return to Scotland happening in the immediate future. “I’m not really getting the chat from [professional clubs] back home or Europe, whereas I’m having those conversations with coaches and team managers here,” he said.
It looks like the Scottish scouting network belatedly caught up with a player who was in danger of slipping through the net.