Edinburgh Rugby could be without stand-off Piers Francis for the remainder of this season, coach Alan Solomons has admitted.
The worst-case scenario for a player who suffered ankle damage at Munster on the opening day of the season has come to pass.
“He is still struggling,” said Solomons. “We have an excellent medical staff and we were hopeful at the beginning that it would be December (for a return), but it doesn’t look like that. I’ve seen those injuries before – it could be a nine-month injury.”
With Gregor Hunter also out long term and Greig Laidlaw settled back into the scrum-half position from where he captained Scotland in the Autumn Test against South Africa, much responsibility continues to rest on the shoulders of young Harry Leonard.
And with Gloucester due at Murrayfield on Sunday for the first of back-to-back sectional ties which could determine Heineken European Cup qualification for Edinburgh, Leonard is set to start his 11th consecutive match.
That is a concern only in the sense that protocols require players to be rested every five games, and Edinburgh’s schedule could mean Leonard missing the second of the annual 1872 Cup ties against Glasgow at New Year, with Laidlaw the only obvious replacement.
Scots prospect Finn Russell, third in line at Glasgow, was linked with a move to Edinburgh but that potential deal fell through.