Concussion makes Richie Gray a major doubt for Tonga Test

Richie Gray: Injury doubt. Picture: SNS
Richie Gray: Injury doubt. Picture: SNS
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SCOTLAND are likely to be forced into another change for the final EMC Autumn Test match against Tonga after lock Richie Gray was confirmed to have suffered concussion.

Concussed players no longer have to undergo a mandatory three-week period of rest, but they do have to fulfil a series of medical protocols to return.

These tend to take six days and, with Scotland facing the South Sea Islanders in Aberdeen on Saturday, Gray is unlikely to be passed fit until Friday.

Gray, who was winning his 26th cap, was injured in the first half against South Africa when he took a bang to the head trying to halt a maul and left the field after 22 minutes.

Scotland doctor James Robson said: “Richie will now be subject to the return-to-play protocol following a concussive episode.”

The SRU stated that there were no other injury concerns after a brutally physical Test against the Springboks and Alasdair Strokosch could come back into contention after missing the game with a calf injury.

The Tongan match now has no influence on Scotland’s seeding for the 2015 World Cup draw, due to take place in host city London next week. After 
losing to New Zealand and South Africa Scotland are 10th in the world rankings and will be in the third pot of seeds so it would seem unnecessary to try to rush Gray back into action.

Glasgow skipper Alastair 
Kellock replaced Gray and would be an obvious choice to return to the starting line-up.

Scotland coach Andy Robinson could also use the Pittodrie game to further expose one of the country’s up-and-coming locks, Tom Ryder at Glasgow or Edinburgh’s Grant Gilchrist, to the international arena.

Ryder made two substitute appearances on Scotland’s successful summer southern hemisphere tour, but Gilchrist has yet to be capped.