Scotland facing hooker problems ahead of Six Nations

Gregor Townsend is due to name his Six Nations squad on Wednesday and the Scotland coach is facing a potential problem at hooker.

Stuart McInally missed Edinburgh's game against Glasgow after straining his neck while exercising in the gym.
Stuart McInally missed Edinburgh's game against Glasgow after straining his neck while exercising in the gym.

Fraser Brown, the vice-captain, is expected to miss the entire championship as he recovers from a neck injury sustained while playing against Ireland in Scotland’s final Autumn Nations Cup match.

Concern is now also growing over Stuart McInally, Scotland’s other frontline hooker.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Edinburgh man missed Saturday’s derby match against Glasgow Warriors after straining his neck in the gym and his club are now seeking a more detailed diagnosis.

“We’re waiting for him to see a specialist to see what exactly the issue is,” said Richard Cockerill, the Edinburgh coach. “We’re hoping it’s not a long term injury but we’ll have to see.”

If McInally’s injury is sufficiently serious to rule him out of Scotland’s Six Nations opener against England, it will likely see Glasgow’s George Turner selected for Twickenham on February 6.

Turner impressed for the Warriors at the weekend, scoring a second-half try in the home side’s 23-22 win and was involved in the autumn internationals, appearing as a substitute against Italy, France and Ireland. He has been capped 12 times but has started just four matches for Scotland, none of which were in the Six Nations.

There is also likely to be a place for Edinburgh hooker Dave Cherry in Townsend’s selection on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old was included in the 2019 Six Nations training squad but has yet to win full international honours. He was capped ten times at under-20 level.

Ben Toolis, the Edinburgh second-row forward, missed Saturday’s match at Scotstoun with a toe injury but should recover in time for the Six Nations.

His team-mate WP Nel has been given a ringing endorsement ahead of the tournament. The prop, who made his 150th appearance for Edinburgh when he appeared as a second-half substitute against Glasgow, is 34 but still in his prime, according to Cockerill.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I think he’s playing really well, as good as he has,” said the Edinburgh coach. “He’s matured well. He may not have the mobility of when he first arrived on the scene but his scrummaging and his experience around the set-piece are hugely valuable to us, and I’m sure it will be hugely valuable to Scotland in the Six Nations.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

Comments

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.