Scotland have received a timely boost after it was revealed that scrum-half Greig Laidlaw will be fit in time for the Six Nations.
French club Clermont said the player is expected to become available for selection again in the next “10-15 days” after recovering from a broken fibula.
Laidlaw sustained the injury while on European Champions Cup duty against Ospreys in October.
The 32-year-old went into the last Six Nations campaign as captain, but he hasn’t featured for his country since injuring his ankle in the 22-16 loss away to France.
He was then forced to pull out of the summer tests against Italy, Australia and Fiji having been called up by the British & Irish Lions for their tour of New Zealand. Taking the place of Ben Youngs, he featured six times for the midweek side.
The 58-cap veteran has captained Scotland on 31 occasions and currently sits third in the all-time points-scoring list with 582.
Coach Gregor Townsend’s squad will also be bolstered by the return of Stuart Hogg, who could make his comeback from a hip injury when Glasgow Warriors take on Leinster this Saturday.
The 25-year-old has been described as “touch-and-go” for the fixture. The final decision will be revealed when coach Dave Rennie announces his Warriors team at lunchtime on Friday.