David Denton set to miss out on European cup final

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SCOTLAND No 8 David Denton appears to be losing his race to be fit for Edinburgh’s historic European Challenge Cup final against Gloucester at Twickenham Stoop on Friday evening.

The Zimbabwe-born 25-year-old suffered a head knock in a clash with Ireland captain Paul O’Connell during the Guinness Pro12 clash with Munster at BT Murrayfield on 11 April.

Edinburgh assistant coach Stevie Scott said yesterday: “He is still going through the concussion protocols. He might struggle for the weekend.”

Aside from Denton and long-term injuries, such as Scotland internationals Grant Gilchrist and Matt Scott, Edinburgh are hopeful of having a strong squad to choose from as they become the first Scottish team to contest a European final.

Scott added: “Jack Cuthbert is back training and got through it today with Greig Tonks and Hamish Watson, which is good. So David is the only one who may miss out.

“Cornell du Preez came on at the weekend and had 37 minutes, so it is a positive he is back on the field. We have Cornell and Hamish there [in the back row] so if they come back that is good timing.”

Assuming Denton is not available, Scott said he was confident Du Preez would be ready. “Oh yes, he’s fit,” said the former Scotland hooker. “He’s been working hard and is probably fitter now than he was at the end of last season. Cornell is a tough bloke. His response to the physio at the time of the injury [last October] was ‘my ankle is a bit sore’ while he was lying there with his foot facing the wrong way. He’s a pretty tough character and playing won’t worry him at all.”

Scott said the atmosphere in the camp was building ahead of the big game. “There is a good energy, buzz and edge about training,” he said. “We have to channel that the correct way. We are treating this as a Test match.”