SCRUM-HALF Chris Cusiter is expected to miss Scotland’s Autumn Tests against New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga with a shoulder injury.
And his club, Glasgow, are bracing themselves to lose him until at least the new year with a full diagnosis of his latest problem expected this morning.
Warriors coach Gregor Townsend has already seen Jon Welsh, Rob Harley, Ed Kalman and Pat MacArthur suffer long-term injuries and it is feared that Cusiter, whose shoulder was dislocated in a tackle during Friday night’s win away at the Ospreys, will need surgery to repair damage around the joint.
In the Glasgow camp, Welsh, James Eddie, Ruaridh Jackson and Cusiter himself are among those to have come through serious shoulder injuries in recent times, each with a four to six-month recovery period.
Cusiter’s latest setback is a major blow to Scotland coach Andy Robinson, as well as Glasgow and the player himself, who was at peak fitness and showing good early form in a season that he was hoping would finish with a strong Six Nations and a British and Irish Lions tour to Australia.
If he is out for four months, Cusiter will be hoping to be back in action in January in time to show his form ahead of the RBS Six Nations Championship.
In the worst-case scenario, the 30-year-old faces a major battle to recover in time to figure in the end-of-season Lions tour to Australia, a trip he would be odds-on to make if fit, given his ability and experience.
With fellow No 9 Mike Blair currently also nursing a shoulder injury, though expecting to return next month for new club Brive in the French second division, and Rory Lawson playing second division rugby in England, albeit with a successful Newcastle team, Cusiter’s injury is bad news for Robinson.
Townsend said: “We are still waiting to see how long Chris will be out, but obviously it is a blow. I thought Chris was looking physical, in the shape of his life, and his passing was excellent.
“Fitness-wise he came back after four weeks off in the summer and was breaking records in our fitness tests, so it’s really disappointing for him. He’d had a good run clear of injuries and was looking forward to the
season, and the international side of it as well.
“It is a blow but we know we’re going to get injuries and it’s going to be a 40 to 50-man effort and Henry [Pyrgos] did really well when he came on. He played a lot of times last season so we know he’s very capable.”
Townsend was also pleased to hear that Fijian scrum-half Niko Matawalu, signed in the summer, was en route to Glasgow yesterday. But the coach was quick to state that he would not go straight into the side as he retained faith in Pyrgos, who will start against Connacht on Friday. Townsend also has 21-year-old Sean Kennedy, transferred from Edinburgh’s academy to fill the hole left by an injury to Murray McConnell, at his disposal.
“He [Niko] is on his way,” said Townsend. “You need back-up in every position, but especially key ones like scrum-half, because no-one can just move there from another position in the team. We saw what Niko did against Scotland. He has got real potential. I’ve not worked with him yet so we’ll see where he is when he gets over this week
but he adds competition to the position.
“Murray McConnell has about another two to two-and-a-half months to go with his rehab, so we’re delighted to have Sean Kennedy. He came off the bench against Sale and Exeter and is on the bench this week, and he’ll definitely be involved next week against Zebre. So, that’s a young Scottish player that’s getting to experience rugby at this level
“I believe that all of our young players are capable of stepping up and Sean has handled himself very well so far, and is an
exciting talent. We’re very grateful to the SRU as he is part of the EDP system with Edinburgh, and now it means he will have an
opportunity over the next couple of weeks and who knows how long after that.”
It is becoming patently clear in the opening weeks of the new season just how vital the SRU’s extra injection of £1m into the playing budget has proved to be as Glasgow bid to follow-up their first win of the season with a first victory at their new
But Warriors, Scotland and Lions supporters will still be keeping their fingers crossed that Cusiter, who has arguably been at his peak as a player, is able to return to the field sooner rather than later.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: East