Two Scotland veterans look like they may have played their final games for their country, after missing out on the Six Nations squad.
There will have been delight for the likes of Cornell Du Preez, Simon Berghan, Matt Scott and Jon Welsh this week when they received the call to inform them of their inclusion.
For Berghan, the added delight that it is his first involvement. However, there will have been some disappointed players who have missed out but not through injury – none more so than fellow prop, Moray Low.
The Exeter Chief has been dropped by Vern Cotter after putting in a trio of sub-standard performances in the Autumn tests, with Berghan and resurgent Newcastle tighthead Welsh both now seemingly above him in the pecking order.
The 32-year-old has been used mainly on the loosehead side this season by his club coach Rob Baxter, and that may have hindered his displays when called up on the opposite side in the dark blue.
Where does he go from here? It is hard to see how Low, who was first capped against France in 2009, will regain his place in the national set-up, with the likes of Zander Fagerson, Welsh and WP Nel first-choice at their clubs and getting regular game time.
That trio offer a lot in the loose – as seen by Welsh’s much lauded chip-and-chase last weekend, and Nel’s memorable 40m dash to the line against Leinster, albeit a few years ago now. There are also a trickle of young props coming through now too who are starting to figure in the Pro and domestic scene.
There was a sliver of hope for Low with the announcement today that Nel has been ruled out of the 6 Nations, having damaged an intervertebral disc in his neck during a “significant collision” in the Harlequins game. Extra props may yet be required…
Meanwhile, for 105-cap Glasgow wing Sean Lamont, it seems like it could be the end of a long international journey.
Lamont, who debuted against Samoa 12-and-a-half years ago, has now missed out on three successive squads – although he was added to the summer touring party as injury cover.
He turned 36 this week, and with Lee Jones and Rory Hughes currently ahead of him at club level in the race to partner Tommy Seymour, and Damien Hoyland now preferred as the go-to 5th wing internationally, it seems unlikely Lamont will overtake Chris Paterson as the country’s most-capped player of all time barring a couple of serious injuries.
Lamont has never given less than full effort and has seen multiple coaching and playing careers come and go including that of his brother Rory. Passionately committed to whatever shirt he is wearing, he is unlikely to officially hang up his international boots until he calls time on his playing career; big Sean will always be ready for the call.
If this is to be the end of the international road for a duo who share 142 Test caps, both will look back on their time in the dark blue jersey with much fondness.
Low was part of the squad that helped Scotland to victory over Australia in 2009, and played in the series win over Argentina the following year.
Lamont, meanwhile, scored 14 tries for his country and has played in three World Cups (2007, 2011 and 2015).