AFTER the pain of defeat came the injury fall-out yesterday as Scotland lost one player from their South African tour and were left nursing a full team following the Samoa battle.
Pat MacArthur, the Glasgow Warriors hooker, won his first cap in the 27-17 defeat to Samoa in Durban, but it lasted just over ten minutes as he suffered what appears to be a serious knee injury and will return to Scotland today for more detailed scans.
The injury, which could keep him out of the start of next season, was suffered in a cruel fashion as the 26-year-old made a tackle on the Samoan powerhouse Alesana Tuilagi, which stopped the winger – unlike teammates who let him in for two tries in the game – but the play had also stopped, though MacArthur did not know it, rendering the tackle needless.
In all, 15 players required treatment from the Scotland medical team after a brutally physical game and, while the hooker is the only player returning home, others could be doubtful for Saturday’s second match against South Africa in Nelspruit.
Captain Kelly Brown is the biggest worry after he sustained an ankle injury midway through the first half, but played on to half-time in the hope that it would subside. It did not and he did not return for the second period.
Asked on arrival in Nelspruit how long his injury list was, Scotland coach Scott Johnson said: “How long have you got? It’s a bit of a Grey’s Anatomy down there at the moment. We’ve got a few. Pat is certainly going home. With Kelly, we’re getting some scans done and will find out tomorrow.
“It was a very physical encounter, but there were going to be changes anyway this week, because we came with a plan to test players but some will now be enforced. We’ll wait until tomorrow and see how they all wash up, but there will definitely be a changing of the guard.”
The SRU’s lead physiotherapist Paul McGinley emerged from a full treatment room quickly set up at the team hotel to provide more detail on the walking wounded.
“We have seen some 15 players for treatment following the game and, of these, four have significant injuries and two are subject to the concussion return-to-play protocol,” he revealed.
“In addition to Pat, Kelly Brown will be subject to on-going treatment for an ankle injury, while No 8 Johnnie Beattie and prop Geoff Cross have shoulder joint sprains.
“Stand-off Tom Heathcote and centre Alex Dunbar are both now on the concussion return-to-play protocol and a number of other players are carrying the sort of soft tissue injuries that arise from full-on Test match rugby.”
Glasgow prop Jon Welsh, a replacement for British and Irish Lion Ryan Grant, joined the squad yesterday, but the Scotland management had made no decision last night on a replacement for MacArthur. Stevie Lawrie, who made his Test debut off the bench on Saturday, and the experienced Scott Lawson are the only hookers left with the squad.