It was only a matter of time.
You have probably been looking at England’s mounting injury list ahead of the Six Nations and thinking, hang on a second, that might even things up a bit (even with their strength in depth).
Of course, these things never occur in a vacuum and Scotland were unlikely to escape the next couple of weekends of high-intensity rugby unscathed. The first such snippet comes from the Scotsman who have reported Al Dickinson will likely not recover in time from a foot injury sustained in the match against Glasgow. With Rory Sutherland also still injured, it’s over to Allan Dell to survive intact to play loosehead. Vern may be picking up the phone to Duncan Hodge as we speak…
Gordon Reid is also experiencing a good spell – a Reidnaissance if you will – and has made Peter Jacksons’s All Star Pro12 XV this week. Which does sound a little like a TV Special made by a bearded Kiwi. Expect Dell and Reid to be the looseheads named in the Scotland squad when Vern announces it next Wednesday (18th).
Glasgow’s long list of contract negotiations got another couple of ticks this week, with Tommy Seymour and Tim Swinson signing 2 and 3 year deals respectively to keep them with the Warriors well into Dave Rennie’s tenure. Word is that Pete Horne has also put ink to paper (not yet confirmed), while up the M8 Hamish Watson has signed a 2 year extension. Some other big names not yet announced from across the pro teams include Josh Strauss, John Hardie and WP Nel.
Italy have announced their Six Nations squad, and both Tomasso Allan and Simone Favaro made the cut. Warrior Leonardo Sarto is still injured:
Forwards: Pietro Ceccarelli (Zebre Rugby), Dario Chistolini (Zebre Rugby), Lorenzo Cittadini (Aviron Bayonnais/FRA), Andrea Lovotti (Zebre Rugby), Sami Panico (Calvisano), Tommaso D’Apice (Zebre Rugby), Ornel Gega (Benetton Treviso), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Stade Toulousain/FRA), George Fabio Biagi (Zebre Rugby), Joshua Furno (Zebre Rugby), Marco Fuser (Benetton Treviso), Federico Ruzza (Zebre Rugby), Andries Van Schalkwyk (Zebre Rugby), Marco Barbini (Benetton Treviso), Simone Favaro (Glasgow Warriors), Maxime Mata Mbanda (Zebre Rugby), Francesco Minto (Benetton Treviso), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais/FRA), Abraham Jurgens Steyn (Benetton Treviso).
Backs: Giorgio Bronzini (Benetton Treviso), Edoardo Gori (Benetton Treviso), Marcello Violi (Zebre Rugby), Tommaso Allan (Benetton Treviso), Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby), Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Treviso), Tommaso Boni (Zebre Rugby), Michele Campagnaro (Exeter Chiefs), Luke McLean (Benetton Treviso, 84 caps), Giulio Bisegni (Zebre Rugby), Angelo Esposito (Benetton Treviso), Giovambattista Venditti (Zebre Rugby), Edoardo Padovani (Zebre Rugby).
Glasgow lock Brian Alainu’use has had his 3 week ban reduced to 2 weeks. Having already served 1 week, he’ll be free to play from 16th Jan. With that in mind here are your teams for the weekend’s European action:
Glasgow team to face Munster at Scotstoun: (live on Sky Sports 2, k.o 5.30pm) Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Mark Bennett, Alex Dunbar, Lee Jones, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Jonny Gray (capt), Rob Harley, Ryan Wilson, Josh Strauss.
Replacements: Pat MacArthur, Alex Allan, D’Arcy Rae, Matt Fagerson, Chris Fusaro, Grayson Hart, Nick Grigg, Peter Murchie
Not available due to injury: Scott Cummings (shoulder), Simone Favaro (ankle), Jarrod Firth (neck), Peter Horne (knee/ankle), Rory Hughes (knee), Sean Lamont (back), Greg Peterson (shoulder), Henry Pyrgos (knee), Sila Puafisi (concussion), Leonardo Sarto (shoulder), Matt Smith (shoulder), Tjiuee Uanivi (shoulder) and Richie Vernon (shoulder).
WP is back! He must have seen the Jon Welsh chip and chase…
Edinburgh team to face Harlequins at the Stoop: (not on TV) Blair Kinghorn, Damien Hoyland, Chris Dean, Phil Burleigh, Tom Brown, Duncan Weir, Sean Kennedy; Allan Dell, Ross Ford (capt), WP Nel, Fraser McKenzie, Ben Toolis, Magnus Bradbury, Hamish Watson, Cornell Du Preez
Replacements: Neil Cochrane, Jack Cosgrove, Simon Berghan, Lewis Carmichael, Viliame Mata, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Jason Tovey, Michael Allen
Players unavailable due to injury: Felipe Arregui (calf), Nick Beavon (neck), Kevin Bryce (shoulder), Alasdair Dickinson (foot), John Hardie (ankle), Nasi Manu (shoulder), Alex Northam (Achilles), Rory Scholes (Achilles), Rory Sutherland (groin), Kyle Whyte (knee)