Hamish Watson back in training but Edinburgh and Scotland waiting game goes on

Hamish Watson has resumed training with Edinburgh but is still several weeks away from a return to action, according to assistant coach Stevie Lawrie.

Hamish Watson pictured at an Edinburgh training session at DAM Health Stadium on Tuesday.  (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Hamish Watson pictured at an Edinburgh training session at DAM Health Stadium on Tuesday. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

The Scotland openside has not played since sustaining a head injury in the Autumn Nations Series match against the All Blacks in November. Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair said last month that Watson was on schedule to make a comeback around the start of February, and although the 31-year-old’s return to training is clearly a positive sign, Lawrie suggested the time frame was unchanged.

“He’s towards the latter stages of his return to play,” he said yesterday. “It’s a gradual return-to-play process, and he’ll just need to keep ticking off the different elements from low-level activity, which he’s been doing, right the way up to full contact and getting through a few weeks of training.

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“We want to make sure that he’s right. When he’s ready and the physios feel he’s ready, then he’ll be put out there.”

Watson is one of a dozen players currently on Edinburgh’s injury list, and Lawrie does not expect any of them to be back to face Castres in Sunday’s Champions Cup pool game in France. However, the four senior internationals who were rested last week against Zebre - Grant Gilchrist, Willem Nel, Jamie Ritchie and Pierre Schoeman - are expected to take part in that match. “They are all available for selection,” Lawrie confirmed.

Edinburgh are within touching distance of a place in the last 16 of the Champions Cup, having gleaned six points from their first two games - a bonus-point loss at Saracens then the full five-point win at home to Castres. Seven points were enough to go through from the pool stage last season, so a narrow defeat at the weekend could prove sufficient. Lawrie, however, is taking a more upbeat view of the trip.

“This is an opportunity to qualify for the knockout stages of Europe, so for us it’s really exciting to go to Castres,” he added. “We know how big a challenge that is. We like going to France, we like playing there, so let’s be positive about our prospects out there.”

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