Six Nations: Scotland injuries may force reshuffle

England's Joe Launchbury is brought down by Scotland's Richie Gray. Picture: PA
England's Joe Launchbury is brought down by Scotland's Richie Gray. Picture: PA
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AFTER the pain of defeat comes the headache of a potential back row reshuffle for Scotland as they return from Twickenham eager to pick up the pieces in the RBS Six Nations Championship.

Scotland went down 38-18 to a confident England side in a disappointing start to the tournament for new coach Scott Johnson, and they welcome Italy to Murrayfield on Saturday.

And the Scots could be forced into rejigging a key area of the team. Flanker Alasdair Strokosch will see a specialist surgeon tomorrow to decide if he can play any further part in Scotland’s campaign after he suffered a fracture around his eye early in Saturday’s match and had to be replaced.

Scotland team doctor James Robson yesterday explained: “It would seem he has a fractured orbit [area around the eye] but, as ever with such collision-type injuries, they can take time to settle. He will be examined by Mr Martin Paley, a maxillary facial specialist on Tuesday, to determine the extent of the injury and any recovery schedule.”

Strokosch’s replacement David Denton suffered a knee injury and No 8 Johnnie Beattie an ankle knock, while hooker Dougie Hall was taken off with what looked like a knee injury. Updates on the severity of their traumas are expected today.

The coaches called up eight players from the Scotland A squad to help with training this week. Forwards Jon Welsh, Alasdair Dickinson, Steve Lawrie and Richie Vernon join scrum-half Sean Kennedy, stand-off Tom Heathcote and wings Nikki Walker and Duncan Taylor at Murrayfield today, while others, part of the senior squad but unused on Saturday, are hooker Pat MacArthur, lock Grant Gilchrist, back row Robert Harley and full-back Peter Murchie. They could all come into the thinking with Peter Horne, the Glasgow centre, also returning to camp having been ruled out of the England game due to a thumb injury.