Lawrie Praises Thompson

ImageSteve Lawrie heaped lavish praise on new Edinburgh team-mate Jim Thompson after featuring alongside the summer signing for Scotland's 7s squad at the Emirates Airlines Edinburgh Sevens at the weekend.

Thompson, 23, signed a professional deal with the Black and Red Army on Tuesday and proceeded to showcase his skills at the home of Scottish Rugby as Scotland reached the Plate Final where they lost to South Africa.

But along the way Steve Gemmell's troops managed to defeat Fiji for the first time in_16 IRB World Series_attempts and also thrashed Australia.

As a result, Lawrie singled out skilful back Thompson, formerly with Heriot's, for special praise and he also lauded the efforts of fellow Edinburgh players Greig Laidlaw and Andrew Turnbull.

Steve is already in for next season and you can join him by signing up for a 2008/2009 Edinburgh Rugby Club season ticket. From as little as _30 (Junior, under-18s) you can watch every home match in the Magners League, every home game in the Heineken Cup Pool stages plus gain free admission to the away leg of the 1872 Challenge Cup. Call 0131 346 5180 for more details and become a fully-fledged member of the Black and Red Army.

Lawrie said: "Jim Thompson was absolutely incredible " I thought he had a really good tournament. Greig had another solid tournament; he cleaned up so much ball and Turny (Andrew Turnbull) showed off some great footwork.

"You saw in the game against Fiji with the try he scored just how good he is. The Edinburgh boys all did really well and were pivotal.

"Beating Fiji was a highlight and scoring in the 12th minute of extra time was great " it was a groundbreaking game. I don't think the weather necessarily played into our hands; it was just a great all-round effort from the boys.

"In the Final, we were disappointed not to have beaten the South Africans because we could have done.

"We are well aware now that everyone involved in the Sevens needs to step it up. That tournament was the benchmark and it is now all about taking it on.

While the other three players have flown out to Canada to be involved with Scotland A's Churchill Cup campaign, hooker Lawrie is looking forward to a short break before setting his sights on hitting the ground running at Edinburgh's pre-season training programme.

He added: "I"ve got two weeks off and then it is back for pre-season with Edinburgh and I"m thoroughly looking forward to it. The other Edinburgh guys in the Sevens squad are away to the Churchill Cup and I"m absolutely delighted for them. That couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of boys.

'throughout the whole tournament the banter in the squad was top notch. When you spend so much time together you can saturated by rugby, but I think we got the balance spot on.

"Everyone pulled their weight and there was a tremendous sense of togetherness in the squad. That togetherness definitely helped us along with genuine class on the pitch.

"I"m really excited about the buzz around Edinburgh at the moment. We have got a tremendous team spirit at the club; all the boys work hard to wear the jersey. It was also good to see so many Edinburgh replica shirts at the 7s at the weekend."

As a newcomer to the international 7s circuit, Lawrie believes he benefited from the experience and says that every player should be exposed to the seven-a-side game as part of their overall rugby education.

He said: "What I learnt most of all is that in 7s, you are so exposed; both in defence and attack because there is so much space.

"Especially coming on later in games, the other guys are tired so you feel isolated because you feel you have to do the work of two men.

"Playing 7s really hones your skills and there is so much running involved which helps your fitness. It also helps to improve your passing and every element of your game. It is a really important part of a player's development and I realise that now more than I did beforehand. You get so many touches of the ball and every second on the pitch is so crucial."