Thomson and Blacklock set for Celtic Challenge debut | Round 4 preview

Thomson and Blacklock set for Celtic Challenge debut | Round 4 preview

Glasgow Warriors have called up Beth Blacklock to their squad this weekend, whilst Edinburgh Rugby bring in GB Sevens', Lisa Thomson.

Scotland centre Beth Blacklock will make her Glasgow Warriors debut tomorrow afternoon, as Chris Laidlaw’s squad return home to take on the Clovers at Scotstoun.

Blacklock’s inclusion comes following an agreed release from her Premiership Women’s Rugby club, Saracens, as the Warriors make four changes for the round four clash in the Celtic Challenge.

An unchanged front-row sees the club’s top try-scorer line up at loose-head prop in the form of Ailie Tucker, the Biggar RFC product joining Nikki Simpson and Eilidh Fleming at the coal face.

Eve Thomson makes her first start in Glasgow colours in the second-row, lining up alongside club co-captain Emma Turner for the visit of the Irish outfit.

Holland Bogan returns to the starting lineup to pack down on the blindside, as Izzy Hannay and Lucy Winter complete a dynamic back-row triumvirate.

Behind the scrum, Scotland scrum-half Mairi McDonald is once again handed the number nine jersey, joining Ceitidh Ainsworth – who has started each game at fly-half to date – in the half-backs.

Lucy MacRae shifts from inside centre to outside centre in order to accommodate Blacklock’s inclusion in the midfield, the former having been one of the club’s standout performers in the competition to date.

The back-three is unchanged, meaning that Phaedra Snailham – scorer of the club’s first-ever home try last time out – and Sky Phimister line up either side of full-back Carla McDonald.

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.

Demi Swann returns to the squad after missing the clash with the Wolfhounds last time out, with an agreed release from Exeter Chiefs seeing the prop join Karis Craig and Chloe Brown as the front-row cover.

Ellie Williamson rotates to the bench after starting in round three, whilst Rhea Clarke and Giselle Chicot retain their spots amongst the replacements.

Roma Fraser completes the matchday 23, the winger returning to Glasgow Warriors action after missing out on the last two rounds of Celtic Challenge fixtures.

Speaking following selection, Head Coach Laidlaw told “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.

“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 team to face the Clovers at Scotstoun Stadium, Saturday 27 January, kick-off 2pm. Tickets are still available at The game can be watched live via BBC Sport Scotland and BBC iPlayer.

15. Carla McDonald (Hillhead Jordanhill)*
14. Sky Phimister (Stirling County)*
13. Lucy MacRae (University of Edinburgh)*
12. Beth Blacklock (Saracens)
11. Phaedra Snailham (Stewartry Sirens)
10. Ceitidh Ainsworth (Stirling County)*
9. Mairi McDonald (Exeter Chiefs)

1. Ailie Tucker (Watsonian FC)
2. Nikki Simpson (Garioch)*
3. Eilidh Fleming (Stirling County)*
4. Eve Thomson (Hillhead Jordanhill)*
5. Emma Turner (Corstorphine Cougars) CO-CAPTAIN
6. Holland Bogan (Stirling County)*
7. Izzy Hannay (Durham University & Harlequins)**
8. Lucy Winter (Watsonian FC)


16. Karis Craig (Watsonian FC)*
17. Demi Swann (Exeter Chiefs)**
18. Chloe Brown (Stirling County)
19. Ellie Williamson (West of Scotland)*
20. Megan Hyland (Garioch)*
21. Rhea Clarke(University of Edinburgh)* CO-CAPTAIN
22. Giselle Chicot (Heriot’s Blues)
23. Roma Fraser (Hillhead Jordanhill)*

Scotland star Lisa Thomson has been released from GB Sevens camp to make her Edinburgh Rugby debut against Gwalia Lightning at Cardiff Arms Park this Sunday (28 January, kick-off 1.30pm) – live on Rugby Pass TV.

The 55-times capped centre starts the Celtic Challenge Round 4 clash in Cardiff as 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 as Exeter Chiefs’ Panashe Muzambe moves to the bench.

Corstorphine Cougars’ lock Adelle Ferrie gets the nod in the second-row with Saracens’ Fiona McIntosh unavailable for selection.

Head Coach Cruikshank said: “After picking up a hard-fought win against the Thunder in Llanelli a fortnight ago, we return to Wales with plenty of confidence. 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.”

An unchanged back-three sees Cardiff Met’s Nicole Marlow start at full-back alongside University of Edinburgh wingers Cieron Bell – top try-scorer for the capital club – and Nicole Flynn.

Thomson links up with fellow Scotland internationalist Emma Orr in midfield, while captain and stand-off Sarah Denholm (University of Edinburgh) continues in the number 10 jersey alongside Scotland scrum-half Caity Mattinson (Gloucester-Hartpury).

Hooker Millie Whitehouse (University of Edinburgh) packs down alongside props Fletcher and Molly Poolman (Watsonians), with Ferry and Nathasha Logan (University of Edinburgh) named in the second-row.

Watsonians’ Freya Walker continues at number 8 as openside flanker and vice-captain, Alex Stewart, and blindside flanker Merryn Gunderson (both Corstorphine Cougars) complete the pack.

Edinburgh Rugby team to face Gwalia Lightning at Cardiff Arms Park (Sunday 28 January, kick-off 1.30pm) – live on Rugby Pass TV.

15. Nicole Marlow (Cardiff Met)**
14. Nicole Flynn (University of Edinburgh)*
13. Emma Orr (Heriot’s Blues/Biggar RFC)*
12. Lisa Thomson (GB Sevens)
11. Cieron Bell (University of Edinburgh)*
10. Sarah Denholm (University of Edinburgh)* CAPTAIN
9. Caity Mattinson (Gloucester-Hartpury)

1. Poppy Fletcher (University of Edinburgh)*
2. Millie Whitehouse (University of Edinburgh)
3. Molly Poolman (Watsonians)*
4. Adelle Ferrie (Corstorphine Cougars)
5. Natasha Logan (University of Edinburgh)*
6. Merryn Gunderson (Corstorphine Cougars)
7. Alex Stewart (Corstorphine Cougars)* VICE-CAPTAIN
8. Freya Walker (Watsonians)*


16. Aila Ronald (University of Edinburgh)*
17. Panashe Muzambe (Exeter Chiefs)**
18. Katie Lindsay (Corstorphine Cougars)*
19. Sophie Murphy (Stirling County)*
20. Gemma Bell (Hartpury University)**
21. Leia Brebner-Holden (Gloucester Hartpury & Cheltenham Tigers)**
22. Briar McNamara (Watsonian FC)
23. Hannah Walker (University of Edinburgh)*

*Scottish Rugby Regional Training Centre supported players
**Transitional SQ Player

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