Scotland’s RBS Six Nations campaign has suffered a second major blow in three days after Josh Strauss was ruled out of the competition.
The Glasgow No. 8 suffered a kidney injury against France on Sunday and the Scottish Rugby Union has confirmed he will take no further part in the tournament.
It was announced earlier this week that captain Greig Laidlaw’s tournament had been ended by an ankle injury.
An SRU statement revealed 30-year-old Strauss had taken a blow to his flank during Scotland’s 22-16 defeat.
It continued: “After completing the match, he was scanned in Paris. Both the scan, and the player, were reviewed at Spire Murrayfield Hospital back in Scotland, where the full extent of the injury was confirmed.
“Strauss will now return to his club Glasgow Warriors for further care and a review of the injury will be scheduled in approximately six weeks.”
Head coach Vern Cotter refused to use a string of injuries during the Paris loss as an excuse, but the home side came from behind to win as they dominated the final 20 minutes.
And the bruising encounter looks set to have a lasting impact on a campaign that started so promisingly with victory over Ireland.
The Scots missed Laidlaw’s experience, leadership and talent after he went off inside 25 minutes and Strauss was arguably their top performer on the day.
The South African-born forward recorded 16 carries and made 47 metres in a determined display.
Another No. 8 option, Ryan Wilson, missed the trip to Paris after dropping out of the Scotland back row with an elbow infection.
Cotter also has Edinburgh loose forward Cornell du Preez in his squad but the South African-born 25-year-old is uncapped.
Flankers John Hardie and John Barclay, centre Alex Dunbar and hooker Fraser Brown also suffered head injuries against France but Cotter will hope the free weekend will allow them to face Wales at BT Murrayfield on February 25.