Scotland have suffered a blow ahead of their opening Six Nations match as WP Nel has been ruled out through injury.
The tighthead prop plays a key role in the front row but a neck injury sustained while playing for Edinburgh Rugby during their European Challenge Cup win over Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday means Nel will have to watch on from the sidelines. A significant collision left him with an intervertebral disc in his neck.
Scotland boss Vern Cotter had his expressed his concern about losing a player who is integral to his plans. An MRI scan on Wednesday revealed the severity of the injury. The 30-year-old will now have a second specialist assessment to consider his programme of recovery, including whether corrective surgery is required.
Nel’s setback opens the door for Glasgow Warriors’ Zander Fagerson. The 21-year-old is likely to come in at tighthead prop for Scotland’s opening match of the Six Nations at home to Ireland next month.