Scotland update: Scott Cummings drops out, Zander Fagerson called up, Finn Russell stays in squad
Zander Fagerson has been cleared to play in Scotland’s Guinness Six Nations match against Italy on Saturday.
But second-row forward Scott Cummings has been ruled out with the hand injury he sustained in Sunday’s 27-24 loss to Ireland.
Stand-off Finn Russell, who suffered a head knock at Murrayfield, remains with the squad because his club, Racing 92, don’t have a match this weekend but he is unlikely to be fit to face Italy.
Back-row forward Ally Miller and his Edinburgh team-mate Damien Hoyland have been drafted into the Scotland squad while winger Rufus McLean has been released back to Glasgow Warriors.
Fagerson missed the Ireland match through suspension following his red card against Wales in round two. The prop was banned for four weeks for charging into a ruck and making contact with Wyn Jones. An independent disciplinary committee initially said the suspension would include Scotland’s Six Nations games against France, Ireland and Italy, and one further match to be determined.
The Scotland tighthead appealed and although the appeal committee upheld the initial ruling that his play warranted a red card and that the ban should remain four weeks, they overturned the decision not to include Glasgow’s Pro14 matches against Ulster and Zebre in the suspension.
With the France game postponed due to a Covid outbreak in the French camp, it means Fagerson will only have missed one of Scotland’s Six Nations matches. No new date has been announced for France v Scotland but it is expected to be played in Paris on Friday, March 26.
Cummings, meanwhile, suffered a suspected hand fracture while fellow lock Jonny Gray sustained a shoulder injury against Ireland.
However, Gray, like Russell, is included in the 35-man squad to face Italy at BT Murrayfield.
Speaking on the injury situation after Sunday’s narrow defeat, Townsend said: “It is quite early to tell but Finn was removed from play with a concussion, so it’s unlikely he will feature in six days’ time.
“And Scott Cummings, we fear he may have a fracture in his hand, so if that’s the case he won’t be involved next week. Jonny Gray had a shoulder issue, so we will wait and see how he is.
“That’s three players – I imagine there will be a few more that turn up at training on Tuesday sore and we’ll just have to see where we are then.”
Hoyland’s inclusion in the squad to face Italy is a significant boost for the Edinburgh player who can play wing or full-back. He was picked for the autumn internationals but sustained a serious ankle injury in training which ruled him out of the entire series.
He has returned to form and fitness with Edinburgh and now has the opportunity to add to his four caps.
The uncapped Miller is included in the full Scotland squad for the first time. The Longniddry-born flanker is a sevens internationalist and has been a regular for Edinburgh this season.
It was announced earlier this month that he will join Glasgow Warriors in the summer.