BLADE Thomson seems tailor made for the cut and thrust of international rugby. Which is precisely why it seemed like such a rapier blow to this New Zealand-born forward’s chances of appearing at the World Cup for his adopted country when he was knocked out cold on club duty, a whack severe enough to keep him side-lined for five months just when he might have been breaking into this Scotland team.

Finally cleared, almost 12 months down the line, to make his international debut in the recent World Cup warm-up match against France, then there followed another dash of drama for the Scarlets back row. Taking another dunt in the hurly burly of action, he failed a head injury assessment and had to be withdrawn from the action again, his World Cup hopes left hanging by a thread.

Few are more acquainted with the series of concussion protocols which modern-day rugby players must go through than Thomson, but the happy news is that the 28-year-old has passed them all with flying colours and came through Friday’s final warm-up against the Georgians unscathed. He was travelling out to Japan with the rest of the Scotland squad yesterday and is primed to make a major impact in the Far East.

“I was selected last autumn but had one game to play for my club against Edinburgh up at Murrayfield,” recalled Thomson. “I carried the ball, got knocked out and since then it was five months trying to work my way back to a point where the head bang was fine, I was injury free and able to play at a level where I was expected to if I was going to pull on the Thistle.

“It was tough,” he added. “But you’ve just got to take it a day at a time. You are covering miles and inches. One training session at a time.

“The last one, during the France game, that was more precautionary than anything,” he added. “They saw something that looked a bit, I dunno, different. So they took me off. I had a minor headache although I felt fine. But a hundred per cent, I feared the worst. I thought: ‘Aw, there go my chances’. But they must have seen something because I’m here now.”

The counterpoint to Thomson’s happy story came in the plight of his room-mate Sam Skinner, who sustained a hamstring injury in that same match against France severe enough to prevent him making the plane.

‘He was my roomie and I was just absolutely gutted for him,” said Thomson. “For the first couple of days, it was pretty raw for him. He knew what it meant, how close it was to the World Cup. He just lost everything. But he’s a resilient man and he’ll bounce back.”

A product of Auckland, who qualifies by dint of his paternal grandfather Robert, from Wishaw, Thomson takes his responsibilities to represent his adopted country seriously. His two boys Zachariah and Carter will travel out to Japan to watch him in action, with Thomson at pains to point out that Carter is named after NBA star Vince and not All Blacks fly half Dan.

It all crystallised for him in the minutes and hours leading up to his Murrayfield debut, and a chat with captain for the day Greig Laidlaw. “Once we did the captain’s run, some things were said in the changing room and it was amazing how much pride there was to pull on the Thistle and what it means to everyone,” said Thomson.

“Do I get that same pride in the jersey? Oh 100 per cent. When I went out for my debut I was trying to hold back tears. For me and my family it’s been a long, long journey.”

Like most Rugby World Cups, New Zealand travel out to the Far East as many people’s favourites for the Webb Ellis Trophy but Thomson is convinced this Scotland team can live with them on their day. “Of course, we can. Its anyone’s game on that day, you just have to show up with the right attitude, do the hard yards and get out there.”

This will be Thomson’s fourth visit to Japan, having visited there first his high school team, then the Maori All Blacks and the Hurricanes. “The public love it, it is unreal. They are quite a reserved people but when they do to go to events they tend to get behind it.”

The 6ft 6in back row, who can help out as cover in the second row, has been picked for the aggression and physicality he can bring to the party, particularly in defence. “What type of player am I? I think I’m aggressive and I’ll do whatever it takes for us to get the win. Whatever it takes. This is a game that’s getting more and aggressive, defence wins you things.

“Do we have enough big beasts in this Scottish team? Of course. We’re chosen for a reason. And a big thing has been making sure our defence is solid, we’ve worked and worked on that. I think we’re ready.”