Back surgery rules Richie Gray out of Scotland’s Autumn Tests

Richie Gray is set to miss Scotland's Autumn Tests. Picture: SNS.
Richie Gray is set to miss Scotland's Autumn Tests. Picture: SNS.
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Lock Richie Gray is set to have a back operation which will rule him out of Scotland’s Autumn Tests.

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According to a source close to his club Toulouse, he needs surgery to repair the niggling back problem which caused him to miss Scotland’s summer tour to Singapore, Australia and Fiji.

Gray is expected to miss at least two to three months of the new season and the worst-case scenario could place his participation in next year’s Six Nations under threat.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend yesterday announced an innovative if inexperienced squad for the internationals against Samoa, New Zealand and Australia in November.

There are just seven players who can boast 30 or more caps and 16 of the squad have fewer than ten to their name.

There are seven uncapped players in the 41-strong group, including two from last season’s successful under-20 squad – winger Darcy Graham and Matt Fagerson.

Flanker Fagerson, the younger brother of tighthead prop Zander, is still only 19 and eligible to play age grade rugby this season.

Townsend has also brought in two overseas players who have qualified under the three-year residency rule, Namibian lock Anton Bresler and Kiwi midfielder Phil Burleigh, both of Edinburgh.

The other uncapped players are loosehead prop Jamie Bhatti and lock Scott Cummings, both from Glasgow, and Edinburgh back rower Jamie Richie.

In addition to the 41 players selected, Townsend included two categories of injured players. Those with a decent shout of making the November Tests – David Denton, Fraser Brown, Allan Dell, Jonny Gray, Rob Harley and Lions full-back Stuart Hogg have been asked to attend training in St Andrews on Sunday.

Those with longer term injuries were listed but not invited to attend . They include centre Mark Bennett who has moved from Glasgow to Edinburgh over the summer, Rory Sutherland and Edinburgh prop Alasdair Dickinson who is recovering from a foot injury and will also have shoulder surgery, keeping him out until December.

Glasgow-bound outside centre Huw Jones is included in the squad after missing the summer tour with a hamstring injury he picked up during the last Six Nations campaign.

Glasgow’s Nick Grigg, the man who filled the No 13 shirt for the match against Fiji, also makes the cut, although there are no places for summer tourists Matt Scott and Josh Strauss.

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