GLASGOW and Scotland have been dealt a double blow with confirmation that second row Alastair Kellock will not play again at least until April and centre Mark Bennett could be out until the spring.
The 32-year-old lock suffered an arm injury in the Warriors’ recent Heineken Cup defeat by Cardiff at Scotstoun, and though he returned to the field after initial treatment he was forced to succumb to the pain. Medical tests have now revealed that he tore the bicep muscle and will require an operation to put it back together.
Glasgow revealed that he is now expected to be out of the game for four months and while head coach Gregor Townsend remains hopeful that he will be back for the matches at the end of the season, when Glasgow will hope to be involved in RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs, that remains dependent on the player’s rehabilitation.
Both Glasgow and Scotland have a number of quality locks to choose from at present, but Townsend acknowledged that few had the range of skills Kellock possesses, on and off the field, and that he would be a significant loss, most immediately in the coming week’s 1872 Cup games against his former club Edinburgh.
He said: “We are all gutted for Al to be missing out on playing for the next few months, but especially the 1872 Cup games. He has played a prominent role in these games over the last few seasons and thrives against Edinburgh. We wish him well in his recovery and he still has a big role to play at the club as he works his way back to full fitness.”
Kellock has not always been a first-choice for Scotland, but every coach in recent times has kept coming back to him because he remains a towering leader and world-class lineout specialist.
Glasgow have turned to Tim Swinson and Tom Ryder for Thursday’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Edinburgh at Murrayfield and have Jonny Gray in the wings, but the youngster who made his Scotland debut in November is also currently injured and will be out for “another few weeks” according to Townsend.
Scotland also have Jim Hamilton, Richie Gray and Grant Gilchrist to choose from, but the elder Gray has also been nursing an injury sustained playing for his club Castres in the Heineken Cup.
Glasgow will also be without young centre Bennett longer than they first envisaged. The 20-year-old, who was close to making his Test debut in the autumn, suffered a toe injury while playing for the Scotland sevens team in South Africa earlier this month. Townsend had initially hoped he would be back playing this week, but further tests have revealed a chipped bone and ligament damage.
The medics have ruled out surgery for now, but he is expected to be out for “several weeks” which could dash his hopes of making the step up to full international rugby this spring.