Scotland lock forward Grant Gilchrist has been plunged into fresh injury misery with the news that he suffered a fractured arm at the weekend and has undergone surgery yet again, writes Duncan Smith.
The 25-year-old sustained the injury in Edinburgh’s 27-13 loss to Ospreys in Swansea on Friday, which was his first appearance for the club since October 2014.
Gilchrist has endured a torturous 16 months since he broke an arm in the European Challenge Cup clash against Lyon just after Scotland head coach Vern Cotter had selected him as his captain for the 2014 autumn Test series.
He missed the rest of the season but battled back to make Scotland’s World Cup squad after missing another chance to skipper his country when he was struck by illness on the day of the warm-up Test away to Italy in Turin.
More disappointment was around the corner when a groin injury ended his tournament during the pool clash against the United States in Leeds.
That injury suffered complications and it was only last week that Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons named him on the bench for the Guinness Pro12 clash in Wales.
After so long out it would have been a push for Gilchrist to play a part in this year’s Six Nations but there was a chance he could have been involved in the last two rounds.
A statement released from BT Murrayfield last night read: “Edinburgh Rugby is disappointed to report that lock Grant Glichrist sustained a fracture to a long bone in his forearm during a collision in Friday night’s Guinness Pro12 match against Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium. Gilchrist has seen a specialist and will undergo surgery today [Monday].
“The injury sustained is not to the same bone that required medical attention prior to Rugby World Cup 2015.”
Meanwhile, London Irish duo Blair Cowan and Sean Maitland have been ruled out of Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Italy in Rome through injury.
Wing Maitland was a late withdrawal with a hamstring strain from the team that went on to lose 27-23 to Wales, while flanker Cowan lasted just ten minutes of the match in Cardiff after suffering a concussion shortly after making his introduction as a second-half substitute.
Also dropping out of head coach Vern Cotter’s training squad are Glasgow trio of prop Alex Allan, flanker Chris Fusaro – both with head knocks – and hooker Pat MacArthur, who is ruled out with groin and thigh issues.
The Scots have been boosted by the return to fitness of Harlequins wing Tim
Visser and Warriors centre Peter Horne after both completed their recoveries from hamstring and foot injuries.
Cotter has also called up Glasgow scrum-half Grayson Hart, flankers Rob Harley and Ryan Wilson as well as Edinburgh’s uncapped hooker George Turner and back-row Hamish Watson to the training camp.
Scotland are looking to break a nine-game losing streak in the tournament but assistant coach Nathan Hines insisted yesterday there was no extra pressure. “The only pressure we’ve got is from ourselves,” he said. “We’ve seen improvement, lost by fine margins, some of it our own doing, but
if we carry any more extra pressure it’s going to be too much of a weight to bear.”