Edinburgh duo Dougie Fife and Ben Toolis have been added to Scotland’s extended training squad for the Rugby World Cup, it was confirmed yesterday.
The pair are injury replacements for Glasgow Warriors lock Tim Swinson and Saracens centre Duncan Taylor, who need surgery for ongoing ankle and shoulder problems respectively.
Swinson and Taylor are expected to be unavailable for up to three months, which rules them out of the national team’s four warm-up games ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2015. Scotland’s first game in the tournament is on 23 September against Japan in Gloucester.
Neither player has been formally ruled out of the competition in England but there must be grave doubts that they can be included in Vern Cotter’s final 31-man squad, the deadline for which is 31 August.
At the squad’s French training base in Font Romeu last week, the head coach Cotter expressed concerns about the lack of progress with the injuries to Taylor and Swinson, who missed the end of Glasgow’s title-winning Guinness Pro12 season.
Taylor played in his club’s Aviva Premiership final win over Bath at Twickenham last month and his loss from the squad continues Scotland’s bad luck with centres. Alex Dunbar, Mark Bennett and Matt Scott are also currently battling to regain fitness for the World Cup.
Dunbar, who ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament before the Calcutta Cup match in March, has travelled to the United States to work with a rehab specialist. Bennett also has a knee problem, while Scott has a shoulder injury.
Fife, 24, who has scored 16 tries in 64 games for his club, earned three of his six Scotland caps in the 2015 RBS Six Nations, scoring the only try in the team’s 15-8 loss to France in Paris. He is primarily a winger but can also play centre. Australia-born lock Toolis, 23, earned his first cap as a replacement in the same campaign after a breakthrough season for the capital club.