Scotland coach Gregor Townsend will know today if there is any chance of his star full-back Stuart Hogg making a return in this Saturday’s final Guinness Six Nations match against England at Twickenham.
The Scots suffered more back-three injury woes during the weekend’s 18-11 home defeat by Wales as Blair Kinghorn rolled an ankle and wing Tommy Seymour, who can also cover full-back, departed with a rib injury, which led to young Adam Hastings taking over in the unfamiliar No 15 jersey.
Darcy Graham, who scored a super try on his home international debut, and sub Byron McGuigan, two players who also have full-back pedigree, left the fray with “whacks” which are hoped to be not too serious.
A large part of Townsend’s potential headache would be solved if Hogg, who injured his shoulder against Ireland in week two, is deemed fit, but the coach insisted that he would return only if 100 per cent to do so.
“If Stuart’s not able to do full training and come through full training then we wouldn’t select him,” said Townsend. “He’s shown in the past that he can recover well and has proved that he is able to play after a break.
“Currently he’s not been able to do full training so things will have to change over the next two days for us to consider him for selection. We’ve been liaising with Stuart and the Glasgow medics to see how he’s doing so we’ll get another update over the weekend.”
There will be a similar assessment of Sean Maitland, another who brings wing and full-back options, who missed the Wales game with a heel injury.
The musical chairs in the backline saw scrum-half Ali Price finish the game on the wing as Scotland’s much-improved second-half showing fell short of derailing the Welsh Grand Slam bid.
“I felt that of the players that came on from the bench, Adam was very good at 15, and he would come into consideration by us for that role after the way he played,” added the coach. “Byron played very well too, and has played for us in really good games for us in the past, so we’ll see how he is with his rib injury.
“Darcy in his first start was outstanding. So players come in and grab opportunities.”
Scotland now face a daunting trip to a stadium they haven’t won at since 1983 against an England side who retain a sniff of the title and who are determined to regain they Calcutta Cup after being blown away at BT Murrayfield last year.
England hooker Jamie George said after his team’s 57-14 rout of Italy: “The difference is night and day [from last year]. We’re in a much better place now and a lot of that is to do with the atmosphere in the team.
“It’s always a huge game against Scotland. We can’t wait to keep the momentum going.”