Ben Toolis targets autumn recall with Scotland after five months out with toe injury

After five months out injured, Ben Toolis was delighted to get back into the action for Edinburgh against Ulster last Saturday. Unfortunately for the big Scotland lock, the season ends this weekend.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 10:00 pm
Ben Toolis in action for Edinburgh against Ulster, his first game for the club in over five months. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

The 29-year-old will use the summer to recharge his batteries and is looking forward to his first proper pre-season in five years.

He won’t be part of Scotland’s tour to eastern Europe, but will focus on playing well enough for Edinburgh in the early part of next season to win a call-up for the autumn internationals.

Toolis’ last involvement with the national side was last October when he played in the 48-7 win over Georgia at Murrayfield in the first of the 2020 autumn Tests.

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Ben Toolis playing for Scotland against Georgia in the first of the 2020 autumn internationals. Picture: Bill Murray/SNS

He has spoken with Gregor Townsend and Mike Blair and the Scotland coaches agreed it was best for him to enjoy a break after the niggling toe injury that curtailed his season.

“They were quite keen to include me in some shape or form [on the summer tour] but, considering I’d been injured, we all decided just to leave it and get a pre-season in,” said Toolis.

“Hopefully, everything will go well and it’ll put me in a good position for the autumn. We’ll wait and see but at this stage it’s more about getting back playing for Edinburgh.”

With Jonny Gray, Scott Cummings, Grant Gilchrist, Richie Gray and Sam Skinner all in the mix Scotland are blessed with a lot of talent at lock. The uncapped Cameron Henderson, Jamie Hodgson and Kiran McDonald have been selected for the summer schedule and Toolis knows he has a battle to win back his place.

“There are so many options at second row now and the way Gregor likes to play the game it comes down to fine margins as to what he prefers and what best suits his style of play,” he said.

“If you look at all those second rows they all offer something different. Everyone has improvements to make in their own game so it’s just about trying to keep doing the things you’re good at and trying to improve the area you need to fix, like a bit of ball carry, a bit of skill work.”

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Toolis sustained his toe injury in a training session ahead of the game against Glasgow Warriors on January 2. He took injections to ease the pain and was able to play in the match but the problem failed to clear up.

“I don't remember doing anything significant to it but I got a scan and it showed there was a bone fragment floating around and they had to repair the capsule,” he explained.

“That’s how bizarre it was, they had to remove a bit of bone because it is such a small joint that it was a niggly thing. It was a weird one.

“I had to get a few injections to relieve the pain. We were hoping that would resolve it but I had to keep getting injections and was struggling to train so we decided just to fix it.”

The toe is all fine now and Toolis should be in the frame to play against Scarlets on Sunday as Edinburgh conclude their Rainbow Cup campaign. He will then enjoy the break and come back refreshed for the new season.

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