Magnus Bradbury could be in contention for the rest of the Guinness Six Nations to ease Scotland’s back-row problems, with the flanker set to return for Edinburgh on Friday after nearly four months out.
It was confirmed yesterday that Ryan Wilson will miss the rest of the championship having suffered knee ligament damage in Saturday’s 22-13 loss to Ireland at BT Murrayfield.
With the likes of John Barclay, Hamish Watson and Blade Thomson already on the treatment table, Scotland’s back-row options are extremely limited.
Bradbury, who started the season in superb form for his club and can play at six or No 8, has been out of action since October due to a dislocated shoulder.
Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill said yesterday that the 23-year-old, who has four Scotland caps, is in line to face the Dragons on Guinness Pro14 duty on Friday.
Cockerill said: “Magnus Bradbury is available for selection.
“It’s been four months for him and he has worked hard to get back. He’ll get good minutes at the weekend for us and we’ll see if Scotland come calling for him after that.”
Cockerill had less positive news on two other back-row options for club and country though. There had been hopes Watson would be back fit from his hand injury to play his part for Scotland in round three in Paris on 23 February but the Edinburgh head coach said: “He will certainly miss France. “They may get him in for the last two games [against Wales on 9 March and England on 16 March], we will see.
“The back-row injuries are starting to mount up for Scotland aren’t they?”
And Lewis Carmichael, the second-row/back-row who earned his first two Scotland caps on last summer’s tour, has torn a knee ligament.
“Lewis got back to playing [after a long-term concussion problem] then slipped, had an accident at training and tore his ACL so he is out for the season,” Cockerill confirmed regarding the 23-year-old.
“It happened three or four weeks ago. He has had surgery, but that is his season finished.”
Meanwhile, Barclay ran for the first time a couple of days ago as he continues to recover from a ruptured Achilles Tendon, but Cockerill is still cautious about the 32-year-old’s return.
“John is making progress, he ran for the first time on Sunday,” added the head coach. “He is heading in the right direction but we don’t have an exact date as to when he will be back.
That is a little optimistic [to say he will be back in March], but we will see. As soon as he is fit and ready to go he will come back into the Edinburgh squad.
“At this point, as he has just started running on Sunday, it is hard to say exact dates, but we will continue to work with him closely.”