Olympic Games: Lisa Thomson is sole Scot in Team GB women’s sevens squad

Rhona Lloyd or Shona Campbell miss out

Lisa Thomson
Lisa Thomson will compete in her second Olympic Games next month after being named in the Team GB sevens squad. Image courtesy Team GB.

LISA THOMSON has been named in the Team GB women’s sevens squad for next month’s Olympic Games in Paris, but there is no room for either Rhona Lloyd or Shona Campbell, the two other Scotland internationals who had been part of the wider squad. Wales are represented by Jasmine Joyce, while the rest of the squad are English, including this year’s top try-scorer in the Six Nations, Ellie Kildunne.

It will be a second Olympics for Thomson, who was originally selected as a reserve for the Tokyo Games but ended up competing for a squad which finished agonisingly close to a medal in fourth place. This time, like last, she had to balance her Olympic ambitions with the knowledge that her chances of playing for Scotland at 15s could be restricted.

“It was a difficult decision,” she said this afternoon (Wednesday) after the squad was announced. “I was making these decisions during the World Cup in New Zealand with Scotland. It was a bit of an unknown – I didn’t know if I was going to be offered a sevens contract or not.


Stuart Hogg signs for Montpellier, according to club chairman Mohed Altrad

How my pet projects became blossoming rugby-related businesses – Freddie Main

URC Grand Final: Andrea Piardi to referee Bulls versus Glasgow Warriors clash


“But I got offered a sevens contract at that time, and it was a huge decision, because I knew that for the next two years my goal was to go to the Olympics – but also give as much as I could to Scotland as well during a key party of our journey towards the World Cup in England. 

“It feels worth it right now.”

Both Lloyd and Grant have also had their Scotland opportunities limited, but while their failure to be selected is clearly a huge blow, Thomson insisted that they remain completely supportive of her. “I’ve spoken to them – they’re hugely happy for me, and I’ll do my best to go out and represent them,” she continued.

“It is hard, but we’re really good friends all of us. I’ve known Rhona since we were 15 years old and Shona I’ve known a long time as well, so they’re hugely happy for me and I’m equally devastated for those guys too.

“We all got text messages on a Monday night a couple of weeks ago telling you whether you’d been selected or not, and then the full squad got put out on our WhatsApp group. It was a real mix of emotions on that Monday night, but I’ll do my best to go out there and represent them as well.”

While Thomson was delighted to represent Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics three years ago – the event was postponed from 2020 because of Covid – the lingering effects of the pandemic made for what was in many ways an unusual experience. This time round she hopes for – and expects – something more akin normality.

“I think they’re not really comparable journeys,” she said when asked what lessons from Japan she might take into the Paris Games. “Pre-Tokyo we came in probably six months before – actually didn’t have any games on the world series together. We had to really accelerate the programme.

“But this time we’ve been on the series for two years, two seasons together. We’ve got to know each other a lot more off the pitch as well, which will hopefully help – it always helps playing on the pitch when you’re willing to graft for each other.

 

 

“Hopefully those of us who have been to an Olympics before will be able to help those who are going to their first, but equally a lot of us have only been to a Covid Olympics, so I think this one will probably be a lot different – and there will be a lot more people about and a lot more going on.

“It has gone really quick since Tokyo because I have been so busy, there has been a lot going on. My rugby has developed, but I think more so as a person I have changed.

“This season has been long and pretty difficult at times. It has been mentally challenging with a lot of ups and downs in terms of performances and other things, as well as flipping between XVs and sevens. So getting in a good head space has been challenging but I have grown as a person and have learnt to cope with those situations.”

While Thomson is the sole Scot in the playing group, she will have two compatriots with her in the shape of head coach Ciaran Beattie and assistant Scott Riddell. After naming his squad, Beattie said: “As you might imagine, it was extremely difficult to name 14 at this stage, as there are so many excellent players who have performed on the World Rugby SVNS stage to secure qualification for these Olympic Games.

“We want to be competitive in Paris and approach each match as one that can be won, with the ultimate aim of medalling, at the same time being respectful of the huge quality of other teams.”

Meanwhile, the men’s squad have a final chance to qualify for Paris this weekend when they compete in the repechage event in Monaco. South Africa appear likely to be the Britons’ main rivals for the single qualifying spot that is up for grabs.

 

Team GB Rugby Sevens Squad for Olympic Games: Amy Wilson Hardy, Ellie Boatman, Ellie Kildunne, Emma Uren, Grace Crompton, Heather Cowell, Isla Norman-Bell, Jade Shekells, Jasmine Joyce, Lauren Torley, Lisa Thomson, Meg Jones. Reserves: Abi Burton, Kayleigh Powell.


Help tell the story of Murrayfield’s 100 years as the home of Scottish rugby

About Stuart Bathgate 1438 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.

4 Comments

  1. Rhonda Lloyd not in the GB squad ? Big mistake….so sorry for Rhona..onward….

Comments are closed.