SCOTLAND will be forced into a back-line reshuffle for Sunday’s Test against South Africa after it was confirmed that Matt Scott suffered a broken hand at the end of Saturday’s win over Japan.
Interim head coach Scott Johnson will look to new faces to fill the gap as Edinburgh centre Scott will also miss the final Autumn Test against Australia, his club’s Heineken Cup clashes with Gloucester next month and, possibly, the RaboDirect Pro12 derbies against Glasgow over the festive period.
However, the Scotland coaching team remain hopeful that the 23-year-old, rated world-class by Johnson, will be back in action in January and fully recovered in time for the RBS Six Nations Championship.
Team doctor James Robson said: “Matt was seen by consultant surgeon Doug Campbell at SPIRE Leeds yesterday [Monday] and it was confirmed he has sustained a fracture to a bone in his hand. Happily, Matt does not require surgery and the usual return-to-play [period] from an injury of this nature is approximately six weeks. Matt will now be in the care of the Edinburgh Rugby medical team and we wish him a speedy recovery.”
Dr Robson added that concussed duo Ryan Grant and Alastair Kellock “are continuing to make good progress on the return-to-play protocol”. But, with that being a six-day process, if they are named in the squad today it will come with a proviso that they continue to pass tests through this week on their concussion recovery.
Stand-off Duncan Weir suffered “minor soft tissue damage” to his groin and is also said to be making “good progress” and, while Tim Swinson (shoulder) and Greig Laidlaw (calf) did not train yesterday, with an extra day’s preparation this week, one or both could still recover fully in time to take part in the second autumn Test.
However, Johnson has moved swiftly to augment his squad to cover potential gaps with a handful of call-ups. Capped Edinburgh quartet Jack Cuthbert, Tom Brown, Lee Jones and Ross Rennie all join the squad and Glasgow pair Jon Welsh and Byron McGuigan also step in – McGuigan moving closer to a full Test debut – and there is a surprise call for Leeds’ 25-year-old full-back/centre Stevie McColl, who has been a leading performer in England’s second-tier Championship for the past couple of seasons. He attracted notice north of the border recently with a fine try-scoring display against Gala in the British and Irish Cup.
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