THE Borders prop Paul Thomson is set to make his comeback to professional rugby in Dublin tomorrow night after he was named on the bench for the Celtic League match with Leinster at Donnybrook (7:30pm).
Samoan international Tanner Vili - who hopes to line up against Scotland in Wellington in June - is ruled out, so Clark Laidlaw continues at fly-half, but Thomson, whose prospects of playing for Scotland were dashed last year by the IRB, has been passed fit after recovering from reconstructive knee surgery.
Stephen Cranston also returns to the squad for the first time since rejoining the team, after reversing his decision to retire earlier this season.
Speaking after training yesterday, Borders coach Tony Gilbert said: "It’s good to have Paul Thomson back. He’s trained well and is looking in good nick. If the circumstances are right, it would be good to see him and Stephen Cranston get some match play.
"Leinster are a strong side. We beat them here last season and narrowly lost to them earlier this season. But what we’ve got is trust and that’s what being part of the Borders is all about. This side has great spirit."
Edinburgh, meanwhile, are without all of their current Scotland squad members for their away game against top-of-the-table Ulster, also tomorrow night, at Ravenhill (7:30pm).
The capital side, who were beaten 41-3 by the Irish province at Meadowbank back in October, have lost Derrick Lee, Mike Blair, Nathan Hines and Simon Cross from their last match, a narrow defeat by the Neath-Swansea Ospreys.
They revert to the side which has been playing without the Scotland stars, with scrum-half Graeme Burns returning to captain the team.
Edinburgh (v Ulster at Ravenhill, tomorrow, 7.30pm): H Southwell; C Joiner, M Di Rollo, A Dickson, M Dey; A Monro, G Burns (capt); R Mathieson, D Hall, J Brannigan, G Perrett, A Kellock, A Dall, C Harrison, A Martyn. Subs: A Kelly, M Driver, N Pike, B Fisher, R Lawson, A Warnock, C Sharman.
Borders (v Leinster at Donnybrook, tomorrow, 7.30pm): G Morton; C Murray, J Stuart, K Utterson (capt), C Moir; C Laidlaw, G Armstrong; C Dunlea, S Scott, G Cross, D Weir, C Stewart, S MacLeod, S Sititi, A Rennick. Subs: K Todd, P Thomson, A Davidson, J Dalziel, T Walker, I Fairley, S Cranston.
Donna Kennedy’s flirt with a new wing position looks to be over after she was named among the forwards for Scotland Women’s final Six Nations Championship match in Ireland this weekend. The 73-times capped player has become more of an isolated figure out wide.
The Scotland side have registered just one win in the championship so far, coming back with a fine second half to secure the points in their opening match against Wales.
Scotland Women’s Squad (v Ireland Women at Thomond Park, Limerick, Saturday, 7pm): Backs: P Chalmers (Murrayfield Wanderers), L Dalgleish (RHC), K Davies (Hillhead/Jordanhill), V Fitzpatrick (Royal High Corstorphine), L Millard (Murrayfield Wanderers), A Newall (GHA), C Ovenden (Richmond), R Petlevannaya (Murrayfield Wanderers), R Shepherd (Murrayfield Wanderers), M-P Tierney (Watsonians). Forwards: A Christie (RHC), K Findlay (Richmond, capt), I Frickleton (Watsonians), D Kennedy (RHC), C Lane (Novocastrians), B Macleod (Murrayfield Wanderers), C Muir (Murrayfield Wanderers), L O’Keefe (Richmond), L Reid (RHC), K Tonge (Watsonians), S Watt (Supermarine), V Wiseman (Richmond).