Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Gray and Hogg face 6 month layoff

Jonny Gray faces France - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography
Jonny Gray faces France - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography

Glasgow and Scotland stars Jonny Gray and Stuart Hogg have successfully undergone surgery in recent days but now face an extended recovery period that could keep them out of the Autumn Internationals.

Hogg returned home from the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand after a clash with Conor Murray’s elbow left him with a serious facial injury but he hasn’t reconstructive surgery for his looks. It turns out Hogg had an underlying shoulder issue and it’s the shoulder that was operated on last week.

The full-back is expected to remain on the sidelines for four to six months.

Second-row Gray, who is far less prolific on social media, has had surgery on a wrist injury after returning home from Scotland’s Summer Tour. The 23-year-old second-row faces a similar layoff.

The charitable estimate of 4 months puts them on the comeback trial in October while 6 months would keep them out beyond the November Internationals, where Scotland will face Samoa, New Zealand and Australia.

Ben Toolis is probably sleeping easier, but it will leave Townsend carefully monitoring his would-be full backs in the opening salvos of the season.

UPDATE (4/7): As if to answer that question, fly-half/fullback Brandon Thomson has re-signed at Scotstoun on a 2 year deal after a brief loan spell at the club last season. He joins fellow Stormers Oli Kebble and Huw Jones at Scotstoun. He is Scottish qualified but possibly tied to South Africa following appearances for the U20s.

20 Responses

  1. Is that the next generation of Scottish Rugby on the sofa? Not sure about the positioning for the high ball.

  2. While you never want to lose your marquee players, this could be a fairly well disguised good thing (if you really squint)

    We need to build depth at 15 and this means that somebody will have to step up and take their chance there. Tonks looked like an able if not spectacular deputy but this might be the opportunity for somebody with more of a spark to step up. FWIW I’m not sure if Kinghorn is that guy. He’s young I know but his defence is very often suspect.

    Similarly, while Jonny Gray is an excellent, willing worker that is everywhere on the park and a mountain in the line out, his impact isn’t that keenly felt by the opposition in the way that I think a man of his size could do. To take his game to the next level you’d expect his tackles to be occasionally devastating and his ability to make impact runs to improve. A bit of time away from 1st team responsibility might help him work on that/see how others come into the squad and impose themselves on the opposition more. See Toolis and his ability to destroy opponents mauls.

    1. Kinghorn may not be ready but we have very very little options at 15. Sean Maitland if fit will play 15 (in his own words his favourite position), then who? Tonks? Glenn Bryce? Tommy Seymour out of position? Kinghorn, season depending, will probably be given a shot in 2018 summer tests but his time may come earlier. Hopefully BK’s defence can be worked on but Hogg for all his attributes is hardly a brick wall, Hoylands try v Glasgow in May anyone? May be all moot and Hogg will be back hopefully but it will be tight.

      1. I’d almost forgotten about Maitland.

        Happy for him to fill in there. Defensively sound and has more creativity than Tonks. He often suffers from being out on the wing where he isn’t afforded the opportunity to get involved all that much.

        Who would I rather have defend the Kiwi back 3?


      2. As said above it will be Seymour Visser and Maitland at fullback providing they’re all fit. That is a backline better than we could have dreamed about between ~2005-2013

        With regards to Camerons post: Ryan Wilson may be a utility player but I don’t think he can cover fullback ;)

  3. Seems bit strange for Stuart Hogg to go on a Lions’ tour with an underlying shoulder problem. Would it not have been more sensible to have the operation as soon as Glasgow’s Pro 12 hopes had disappeared.

    1. Lots of players play with issues that are managed through injections – a grim reality of professional sport. Nothing unusual about prioritising the Lions from players pov.

  4. I could see Darcy Graham filling in for Hogg. He may be quite light and could be tested defensively but we rave about Hogg’s attacking brilliance not his tackling and from what Graham has shown so far he could be just as electric in attack as Hogg and might be the spark we need

  5. While both Scotland and the Warriors will miss these players for 4-6 months (in reality, about 3 months from September-November), but there are opportunities to be had that will benefit squad depth all-round.

    1. The first choice second-row in the AIs should be Toolis and Richie Grey, which is a very exciting and dynamic prospect. It will give the upcoming Cummings, Hunter-Hill and Carmichael something to aim for in the first few months of the table, with the bench and squad spaces up for grabs.

    2. It is another reminder of the need to develop depth at 15, for club and country, but does cause more problems at club level. As I’ve said on Twitter, there is not a tried-and-tested option for the Warriors in Hogg’s absence. Seymour CAN play there, but it’s almost a waste of his talents. There is no other obvious candidate, so it would be unsurprising to see Rennie (a) bring in cover, OR (b) try a few different options. Is this the chance for us to see Huw “man of many talents” Jones actually play in a position other than OC? (Assuming he’s fit in the next 2 months of course).

    3. If fit, Maitland will surely be first choice at 15 in the autumn. If the Samoa game wasn’t first up, then that might have been a chance for Kinghorn to take his bow, but I would expect to see Maitland play as a warm-up for the ABs, with Tonks on the bench as cover. Taylor is another option, but seems clear that Toony sees him as a first pick in the centre.

    1. Agree that Jonny’s lay off is less of a problem. Glasgow have strength in depth there with Tim Swinson, Alainu-uese and Peterson, as well as up-and-Cummings (see what I did there?). Scotland have cover too with Ben Toolis and Gilchrist down the M8 (as well as the u20 captain, Hunter-Hill). Oh yeah, and Jonny’s brother, whatsisname?
      The Full-back berth, though is a real problem. Glasgow are in short supply with only Seymour and Horne real options there, and I don’t really like swapping players out of position, because you just end up with two weaker positions, instead of just one. Obviously Peter Horne has been moved all over the place and so can easily switch, but I’d prefer to see him playing more and fly-half regularly so we have a backup to Finn. Short term I guess he’s the man though, if only for Glasgow.
      For Scotland, Maitland is the obvious answer but he’s not getting time at full-back for Sarries. Not surprising with Alex Goode and Liam Williams in the squad. The same goes for Taylor, if not more so. So it’s Kinghorn – a bit green, or Tonks – a bit of a backstop although at least playing regularly and now in the Premiership. My preference is Kinghorn, but it all depends how he and Edinburgh do in the Pro12.
      Of course, this all might be premature if Hogg returns fit and well at the end of September and has 4 games for Glasgow before the AIs.

  6. Just had a thought – Huw Jones @ 15 – short term?

    Plenty of centre cover @ Glasgow & Scotland.

  7. Gray isn’t a huge loss, decent cover. Maitland hasn’t really been allowe to play his favoured position since coming to the UK so let’s see if playing him there gets him out of third gear.

    1. Hear hear! I remember seeing Maitland play for the Crusaders years ago, on the wing I might add, and thinking that he’d be an All Black before too long, since he came over here he’s been steady and unspectacular, although he has suffered a bit with injuries. Maybe a run at FB would energise him a bit.

    1. My South African mate says he’s decent. I’ve not seen much of him I have to admit. Anybody got a view on him that maybe spent more time paying attention to him when at Glasgow last season/watches a lot of Super Rugby?

  8. All this chat about 15 at the Weege, what’s happened to Murchie? Always looked solid for Glasgow.

    I’m not sure you can judge BK on last season as very few people came out of Edinburgh with any credit. Hopefully, all change and he shows how good he can be.

    I’m looking forward to the AIs already!

You might also like these:

Craig is joined by Jonny and Rory to look back at the disappointing end to Edinburgh's season and Glasgow's march towards the semi finals.
Gregor Townsend has named a largely experimental squad for the summer tour of the Americas. It's not a question of who misses out, but rather who is actually going, writes Rory.
Iain is joined by Jonny and John to discuss the penultimate round of URC fixtures as well as the recent Scottish Rugby Writers' Awards
Craig is joined by John on the injured reserve list to have a wee look at the URC action from the weekend.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion