WP Nel can return in three to four months, says coach

Scotland's Willem Nel had neck surgery last month. Picture: Jane Barlow
Scotland's Willem Nel had neck surgery last month. Picture: Jane Barlow
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Scotland forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys does not believe tighthead WP Nel’s career is in jeopardy and expects him to be back playing in “three or four months”.

The Edinburgh prop had neck surgery at the end of last month after being dogged by problems this season which have seen him miss the autumn Test series and Six Nations, which Scotland opened with a 27-22 home win over Ireland on Saturday.

Nel damaged an intervertebral disc and there have been fears over the South Africa-born forward’s long-term future in the game, but Humphreys sought to allay them yesterday.

“I’m very confident he’ll come back,” said former Wales hooker Humphreys. “I’ve known a lot of props who’ve had the same injury. You’re talking three to four months and he’s back playing.”

Scotland are currently without both first-choice props but Humphreys indicated that, while still unavailable for this weekend’s clash with France in Paris, loosehead Alasdair Dickinson could return at some point later in the competition.

“Hopefully he’ll be playing in the next couple of weeks,” said Humphreys. “There’s a possibility he will be playing before the end of the tournament.”

The assistant reported that all 36 players named in the original squad were now back in camp, including Saracens centre Duncan Taylor, and that head coach Vern Cotter has a fit pool to choose from when he names his side for the Stade de France showdown later in the week.