Scotland's Lisa Thomson and Chloe Rollie seal French moves

Scotland rugby internationals Lisa Thomson and Chloe Rollie know it is a big step, but the duo believe they are ready to face up to the challenges of professional rugby after they joined top French side Lille Metropole Rugby Club Villeneuvois (LMRCV).
Scotland's Chloe Rollie, left, and Lisa Thomson are moving to French side Lille Metropole Rugby Club Villeneuvois. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS/SRUScotland's Chloe Rollie, left, and Lisa Thomson are moving to French side Lille Metropole Rugby Club Villeneuvois. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS/SRU
Scotland's Chloe Rollie, left, and Lisa Thomson are moving to French side Lille Metropole Rugby Club Villeneuvois. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS/SRU

The partnership between Scottish Rugby, who they are contracted to, and LMRCV will see the backs play in the French Top 8 in 2017/18 alongside international team-mate Jade Konkel, pictured below, who moved to the club earlier this month.

Thomson and Rollie, who are now full-time players in the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy, will be available for all Scotland training camps and matches.

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Last summer No 8 Konkel became the first-ever female pro rugby player in Scotland – and it will be very interesting to see how the trio do in a much tougher environment week in, week out.

Jade Konkel is already playing in France. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRUJade Konkel is already playing in France. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU
Jade Konkel is already playing in France. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU

When they move to France next Tuesday to link up with their new housemate Konkel, centre Thomson, 19, admits she will have to pinch herself such has been her rise in the last eight months.

The teenager from Hawick was a key player as Scotland won two matches in the Six Nations after a long wait, while she won British Universities silverware with Edinburgh Uniiversity at Twickenham and was named Scotland Sevens captain.

“I was so excited when I first got the phone call to tell me that this opportunity might be in the offing and to get to go and play in France is like a dream,” she said. “If you had said to me at the start of 2017 that everything that has happened would have happened then I would not have believed you.

“Chloe and I keep saying to each other that it doesn’t seem real, but it is and we have to get over there, get to know the squad, train hard and make the most of this opportunity.”

Jade Konkel is already playing in France. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRUJade Konkel is already playing in France. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU
Jade Konkel is already playing in France. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU

Rollie, a full-back, is three years older than Thomson and is also from the Borders. The Jedburgh native has recently been playing for Murrayfield Wanderers and the national team and said: “I was overwhelmed really when I heard it was all going ahead, for me it is a dream come true. I always wanted to be professional, but was never sure if it would happen. We have spoken to Jade this week and she has told us that training is tough and at the intensity of an international camp so we have to be ready for that on a more regular basis than usual.

“With the French league also featuring lots of internationalists, each game is going to pose its own challenges, but that is exciting.”

Scottish Rugby’s Head of Academy and Performance Programmes Stephen Gemmell now wants the domestic game to improve to help create more top-level players.

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“Unfortunately, if you look at our domestic game at the moment, it’s not competitive every week,” he said.

“That is something that 
we are working closely with the clubs on and role models like Lisa and Chloe can only help young girls take up the game.”