Blade Thomson pushing for Scotland place

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Thomson, a former Maori All Black and NZ Under-20 representative, was set to make his Test debut in November last year but a week before the Test against Fiji he suffered concussion in a club game for his side Llanelli Scarlets.

His recovery took much of the northern season and he endured several setbacks with headaches recurring.

It wasn't until the end of April that he was able to get through a full game at the end of the Scarlets' season.

Scottish coach Gregor Townsend kept the faith and included Thomson in his World Cup training squad and now he has a chance to push for World Cup inclusion. It is a genuine contest and 10 loose forwards are pushing for selection in the side.

Thomson told The Times: "I wasn't stressing. If they picked me, I'd go out and do my best to pay them back for having trust in me. That's what I'm trying to do at the moment, trying to earn my spot on this team.

"Every day I train my hardest and try to give them something to look at. I'm grateful for the opportunity and Gregor having a little bit of faith. I now just want to grab the chance and run with it," he said.

Thomson qualified for Scotland through his grandfather but it was only midway through his stint with the Hurricanes that his father mentioned the family connection.

"To be honest, when I came over last summer, I wasn't expecting to play international rugby; my sole focus was on the Scarlets. But when Gregor gave me a call, I was overwhelmed. It was a great feeling for me and my family," he said.

"Everyone's dream in New Zealand is to play for the All Blacks, but it wasn't meant to be for me. When this opportunity came up, I thought, 'Not everybody gets handed two cards, two opportunities.' I've been fortunate enough for that to come up so I'm desperate to make the most of it."

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