SCOTLAND have been dealt a fresh injury blow ahead of their second EMC Autumn Test match against South Africa this weekend with confirmation that openside flanker Ross Rennie has suffered a dislocated shoulder.
The 26-year-old was left on the pitch in agony at the end of the first quarter in yesterday’s 51-22 defeat to New Zealand, and had to be replaced by fellow Edinburgh back row David Denton. Rennie was a loss to the team, his speed and ability to contest breakdown ball one of the most important assets in a side facing the All Blacks and the world’s top openside flanker, Richie McCaw.
Rennie was making his 20th appearance for Scotland in a career ravaged by injury, one of the country’s most talented forwards missing games regularly throughout the season. He might not have been fit enough to face the Springboks in any event, due to the six-day turn-around between the autumn Test matches and his unique rehabilitation needs, but he is now expected to be ruled out of all three games, with Tonga the final opposition in Aberdeen on 24 November. He could also be a doubt for Edinburgh’s Rabo- Direct and Heineken Cup matches in December.
Rennie is likely to be replaced by experienced Glasgow flanker John Barclay against the Springboks and it could open the door for a return to the squad for Rob Harley, or a potential first selection for the other young Warriors back row star, Chris Fusaro.
Scotland will regroup today at Murrayfield to collate the lessons from another sobering Test match with New Zealand in the hope they can produce the same response as in 2010 when Andy Robinson’s team bounced back from a 49-3 hammering to beat South Africa 21-17.
Tighthead prop Euan Murray will be available again, after missing yesterday’s match due to his Christian beliefs. But, having lost over ten potential Test performers to injury this season, the squad’s strength will hinge on how quickly many of yesterday’s side recover.
Several players were carrying heavy knocks and bruising which will take at least 24 hours to clear before their fitness for selection can be ascertained.Robinson will name the team to face South Africa on Wednesday.