Scotland to make late decision on Beattie’s fitness

SCOTLAND will give Johnnie Beattie until the warm-up before today’s final Castle Lager Test against Italy before deciding whether he can play.

Typical of the injuries that have plagued Scotland on this tour, with six players ruled out and others carrying knocks, Scotland coach Scott Johnson admitted he was down to the bare bones after defeats to Samoa and South Africa.

Beattie played with an injured shoulder against South Africa and this week suffered a thigh injury, but if that eases Johnson said he would play.

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The Montpellier forward did not train yesterday and if he fails a fitness test before kick-off, Rob Harley will be drafted into the starting line-up with David Denton moving to No 8, and reserve hooker Fraser Brown will also cover back row, with Edinburgh hooker Stevie Lawrie also among the replacements.

Johnson praised Beattie’s ability to play through the pain barrier, but there may be a word of caution in the news from Scotland yesterday that Glasgow centre Peter Horne suffered a serious ligament injury in the Test defeat to the Springboks and now faces an operation likely to rule him out of action for around nine months.

It is a cruel blow to a player who had pushed his way into the Scotland set-up this season and was destined to be a big part of Glasgow and Scotland plans next season.

However, it was surprising that the Scotland medical team allowed the 23-year-old to remain on the pitch after he had been treated for what looked immediately like a serious knee injury.

He collapsed again in the next attack and was finally taken off, fuelling fears that he may have succeeded only in causing further damage.

Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend said: “His reaction to such a serious injury on the field last week showed how much he was willing to sacrifice himself for the good of the team, as he fought to get back up after his injury to be involved in Alex Dunbar’s try.

“We’re all gutted for Peter. He epitomises everything that’s good about the club, with his work-rate and desire to improve. This earned him the Players’ Player of the Season award last season and his first Scotland cap in South Africa.”

There was better news on the Glasgow hooker Pat MacArthur, who was injured during Scotland’s defeat to Samoa.

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The 26-year-old, who was forced off ten minutes into his Test debut, suffered medial ligament damage to his knee, but is expected to recover within eight weeks and so could return around the start of the season. Injured back row Ryan Wilson is to undergo further tests to determine the severity of his shoulder injury.