Scotland’s hellish start to the Rugby World Cup in Japan has been hit by a fresh blow with the news that scrum-half Ali Price has joined flanker Hamish Watson in being ruled out of the tournament.
Price sustained a foot injury in the national team’s opening Pool A defeat to Ireland at the International Stadium Yokohama.
The 26-year-old, who has 28 caps, was seen arriving at the Tokyo station for the bullet train to Kobe on crutches.
An SRU statement said “an x-ray confirmed he would play no further part in the tournament”.
Yesterday assistant coach Danny Wilson said the Glasgow player had a "minor issue around the foot and ankle" but it has been revealed to be far more serious than that.
The change will mean a second World Cup appearance for his replacement, former Glasgow and now Edinburgh scrum-half Henry Pyrgos, who was vice-captain at England 2015 and will seek to add to his 27 Scotland caps to date – the last of which came in the national team’s home win over Australia in 2017.
The SRU said that Pyrgos is scheduled to arrive in Japan on Thursday and take his place in the 31-man group preparing to face Samoa at the Kobe Misaki Stadium on Monday.
It is another bad blow for head coach Gregor Townsend following Sunday’s awful defeat to Ireland and the loss of key forward Watson. Greig Laidlaw started in the No 9 jersey in Yokohama but Price was a bit more than a back-up, more a genuine starting option and could well have been in the team, if fit, to face the Samoans.
The other scrum-half in the 31-man squad is Glasgow’s George Horne.
Townsend said: “We’re disappointed for Ali to have to return home so early in the tournament.
"Both Ali and Hamish had invested a lot of effort into being in their best physical shape for the world cup and it’s a shame they’ve only been involved in one game.
"However, we have a lot of belief in our wider group and the two new players [Magnus Bradbury and Henry Pyrgos] who have been given this opportunity.”