Scotland’s summer tour squad suffered two more withdrawals yesterday when lock Richie Gray and scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne were both ruled out of next month’s trip to Singapore, Australia and Fiji.
Gray has been troubled by a back injury as well as illness while Hidalgo-Clyne, a late call-up for British and Irish Lions scrum-half Greig Laidlaw, has torn his hamstring.
Hidalgo-Clyne’s fellow Edinburgh scrum-half, Sean Kennedy, has been drafted in by Gregor Townsend but no further second row has been added.
It is a cruel blow for Hidalgo-Clyne, who had battled his way back into the national squad after a trying couple of years. Following his breakthrough season in 2014-15, which has led to nine Test caps, the 23-year-old has struggled for a place in the Edinburgh team in the past season but a late rally of form, combined with Laidlaw’s elevation to the Lions, had opened a door which has now been shut by the hamstring injury.
Hidalgo-Clyne sustained a hamstring tear during national team training at Oriam last Friday, with a scan at Spire Murrayfield Hospital confirming the extent of the injury and, consequently, his absence from the tour. It will be the second time the 26-year-old Kennedy has been called into national team camp, following his inclusion in the squad ahead of the 2013 Six Nations before earning senior representative honours for Scotland A in the win over England Saxons in Newcastle.
Gray, who missed the final Six Nations game against Italy through injury, arrived in camp from his club Toulouse last week suffering from an ongoing back complaint and the after effects of illness.
Following a review from the Scotland medical team it was deemed best for the player to return to his club for rest, recovery and rehabilitation over the summer period.
Townsend said: “Richie has been unable to do much training since the Six Nations because of his back issues so it became quickly evident he wouldn’t be able to play test match rugby this summer.
“We’re all disappointed for Sam who came into camp full of enthusiasm and worked really hard in our first three days together.
“While it’s a blow for him to miss the tour, at least his injury isn’t too serious and he can get back into pre-season with Edinburgh at a later date. It’s great that we have been able to call up a quality replacement in Sean Kennedy.”