Rugby World Cup: Scotland's Stuart McInally out of squad following neck injury - just days after being called up

Stuart McInally's World Cup is over.Stuart McInally's World Cup is over.
Stuart McInally's World Cup is over.
Stuart McInally, the Scotland hooker, has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup after injuring his neck in training.

He has been replaced in the squad by Glasgow Warriors' Johnny Matthews. It’s a huge blow for McInally who has endured a rollercoaster of a summer. The 33-year-old was left out of the original squad and looked like he had played his final game of rugby, having earlier announced his intention to retire. However, he was handed the chance of an unexpected career swansong after his fellow Edinburgh hooker Dave Cherry suffered a concussion in an accident at the team hotel.

McInally, who captained Scotland into the last World Cup in Japan, arrived in France two weeks ago as a standby following a concussion sustained by Ewan Ashman. Ashman recovered and McInally returned home but then flew out again when Cherry was ruled out. He had been expected to play in Scotland’s third World Cup game, against Romania on Saturday, but the neck injury has put paid to that and McInally will end his Scotland career on 49 caps. He will now continue his training to become an airline pilot.

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Gregor Townsend, the Scotland coach, said it had been an emotional weekend for McInally and there was a special presentation for the hooker in the changing room after the win over Tonga. "Right now he is very emotional," said Townsend. "He got a presentation in the changing room from the players and Grant Gilchrist gave him a fantastic speech. It’s a very emotional time for all of us, especially Stuart.

"To get the news on Saturday that he wasn’t going to recover in time from a neck injury he picked up in training is so disappointing for him. We all thought this would be a great way for him to end his career, coming out and getting his 50th cap and contributing to our World Cup career.

"That was something he deserved and had earned given what he had put into that jersey over his career and what he has put in over the last three months. It’s just bad luck - it wasn’t even an injury in the session, it was more that at the end of the session he felt pain in his neck. It didn’t recover for two days and we had him scanned on Saturday, to see if there was a bigger issue, which there is."