Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Dunbar to miss summer tour with hamstring injury

Alex Dunbar
Alex Dunbar left the Ospreys trailing in his wake at Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow. © ALASTAIR ROSS | Novantae Photography

Scotland defensive lynchpin and all-round good chap Alex Dunbar has been ruled out of the summer tour because of injury.

The centre suffered a hamstring injury training with Glasgow ahead of the PRO14 Semi Final, which he subsequently had to sit out.

Dunbar will be replaced on tour by Edinburgh’s Mark Bennett. Bennett was a star of the World Cup in 2015 and is a possibility to pair up with either Pete Horne or Duncan Taylor in midfield, although it could be argued he has slipped back down the pecking order slightly since his last cap in that game at Twickenham in 2017.

Mark Bennett - pic © Al Ross
Mark Bennett – pic © Al Ross

Since that injury, he has slowly been coming back to form and fitness but is yet to hit the heights we saw from him before, and that his early promise suggested.

Other centres in the squad include James Lang, Chris Harris and Nick Grigg.

It has also been announced today that all three of Scotland’s summer tests will be televised free to air, with the Canada and USA games on BBC Scotland (2am kickoffs) and the Argentina test to be broadcast on Channel 4 (8.45pm kickoff) who are trying to show more rugby as part of their sport offering. Great news!

UPDATE (29/5): It has now also been announced that Richie Gray will miss the tour with a hip injury. A replacement has not been called up.

36 Responses

  1. Bennett should have been there from the beginning.

    Not sure Dunbar’s body is up to it now.

  2. We need to pin down our midfield combinations this close to RWC. Dunbar can’t be part of plan A or B. Injury can hit anyone but he is perma injured.

  3. Excellent news about the TV coverage.
    Whilst it’s not good news about Dunbar, the Canada / USA games are the nearest we get to trying out combinations. Putting newbies in the centre at the Millennium didn’t go so well . . .

    By the way, minor grump, for how long must we complete the TICK HERE box ? Seem to have to do it every time at the moment ? Is it because I post from different devices and I just haven’t completed the set ?

    1. Sorry, I’m not sure on that, it’s a requirement of the new data protection legislation as the system stores email and IP so unless you register for an actual account (rather than the browser just remember you ) it might then store your settings permanently. There may be better solutions available which we can look into in the off season.

      1. Turns out being logged in makes no difference the tickbox still appears. I’ll see what else can be done, I don’t want to have to do it myself with an account! Then that would be an option for readers too.

      2. It’s a long time since I could be considered anything close to being a techy (there may be someone who can confirm or otherwise) but my understanding is that most ISPs use floating IP addresses so if it’s taking a combination of email and IP you could have a different combination every time.

        Anyhoo….. real shame about Dunbar but he does seem v injury prone…

      3. BorderBadger you are correct which makes it hard to track down and boot trolls using more than detective skills, but the alternative is forcing everyone to register with an account or using a 3rd party platform like Disqus or FB to handle the comments.

  4. Great news concerning being able to watch the games with ease! Pity about Dunbar but excited to see Bennett coming in and how he plays.

  5. I’d like to see a combo of SuperDunc at 12 and Bennett at 13, I could see those 2 complementing each other well. Lots of centres but do feel if we need to get SuperDunc involved, when fit he is a helluva player.

  6. Without coming across as insensitive I hope, maybe Dunbar’s latest setback will give him a chance to have an extended rest followed by a run up to full fitness for the AIs and 6N 19. Guy’s still a class act capable when fully fit of doing great things for club and country. And still only 27/8 or so?
    A great chance for Bennett to reastablish himself in the Scotland squad. I hope he cuts it.

    Great news about tv coverage too.

    1. In my opinion Dunbar is our best centre, he can attack to an international standard and can play 12/13 but ofc his breakdown and defense is world class for a player in his position, he is gel for our team.

      Perhaps the 4g pitch is having issues with him ? he gets alot of niggles since glasgow started playing on an artificial surface, could be worth him moving elsewhere if thats the case.

  7. Would be nice if somebody could find a Scottish granny for Johnny McNicholl. Some player and a hat trick today.

    1. Pretty sure if a player’s name sounds Scottish enough we’re allowed to call them up.

  8. Managed to miss the Ba Bas game. Even the Telegraph says Russell was ‘brilliant’ – or is that too much? Doesn’t seem to have been a contender for Sky MOM. Would like to watch this England shoeing in full, any ideas / website?

    1. Russell was very good. The interesting thing is he didn’t go crazy throwing all or nothing passes. Solid distribution putting the guys outside him into space, good support running, great goal kicking plus a couple of touches of magic at the right time.
      Excellent little kick through for the 3rd (ish….) try and got one himself. Couple of nice offloads and backhand passes.
      Wasn’t perfect – still managed to miss touch from a penalty….. – but all the things that are good about him with not that many of the bad.
      The English team was nowhere near 1st (or 2nd) choice, but it was still good to see the Baa-Baa’s putting out a decent team for the first time for a few years.
      Robshaw was terrible and really needs to think about retiring – missed so many tackles leading to at least 3 tries.

      1. I was surprised Hogg wasn’t called up when Piutau pulled out. Also, AJ McGinty was first choice over Russell? Madness…

      2. Hoggs on the Scotland summer tour so probably couldn’t be selected. Russell and Laidlaw given the summer off so free to play for the babas.

      1. Highlights made it look like he had a very very accomplished performance. Involved in many of the tries including the first few. Kicked perfectly. No mistakes. It was ideal having all these monsters in the backline running off his pops and feints. To have some heavy ball carriers in the Scotland team. Looks like he might get on very well at Racing!

      2. Mr P. Dant would point out he did miss one kick to touch from a pen, and IIRC he kicked one restart straight out. Hardly hanging offences in the circumstances.

    2. I thoroughly enjoyed England’s beasting, even though it was nothing like their first team. Even so a team like England should be able to beat some hungover stars who only trained together 3 times! I despise Chris Ashton nearly as much as Mike Brown, Liam Williams and cockroaches but I couldn’t help but chuckle at him scoring a hat trick against the team that won’t select him because of some stupid principal. An entertaining game though.

  9. Cam i assume it would have to be with glasgow possibly being in a final at the time.

    1. Yeah, Scott McCall pointed the reasoning out above – I’d forgotten that he was on tour. Also, Russell would have been in that same final were that the reason!

  10. My prediction for the 23 picked tomorrow
    by Toony, not exactly what i personally would go for.

    1. Jamie Bhatti
    2. Fraser Brown
    3. Zander Fagerson
    4. Ben Toolis
    5. Grant Gilchrist
    6. David Denton
    7. Luke Hamilton
    8. Matt Fagerson
    9. Ali Price
    10. Peter Horne
    11. Lee Jones
    12. Duncan Taylor
    13. Chris Harris
    14. Blair Kinghorn
    15. Stuart Hogg

    16. George Turner
    17. Allen Dell
    18. Simon Berghan
    19. Tim Swinson
    20. Magnus Bradbury
    21. George Horne
    22. Adam Hastings
    23. Byron Mcguigan

    Crazy thing is that you could argue that out of everyone in the 15 started there is that only Hogg is Clear first choice, Alot of quality depth we have building towards world cup.

    1. Marfo
    2. Mcinally
    3. Nel
    4. Gray
    5. Gray
    6. Barclay
    7. Watson
    8. Wilson
    9. Laidlaw
    10. Russell
    11. Seymour
    12. Dunbar
    13. Jones
    14. Maitland
    15. (Hogg)

    1. I really hope Toonie takes the opportunity to give Horne and Hastings decent game time and Canada is the weakest opposition. If they have any chance of making the RWC they need test minutes, especially Hastings who has only started half a dozen league games but if Finn is injured could conceivably be starting FH.

      Also whilst we are building better depth I’m not convinced we have the clutch of world class players needed to challenge the very top. We have lots of very good test players and Hoggy.

      1. Steve Hansen says you need 6 or so “World Class” players to be a great team so we have some way to go! Interesting to see the team announcement shortly.

      2. I don’t know about that. Ireland have Sexton, Murray, Furlong, O’Brien nailed on.

        Then a load in the conversation – Henderson (probably James Ryan in a few years), Henshaw, Healey, Stander, Ringrose in a few years. Leavy might even be pushing it if his form stays up there consistently.

      3. Good points FF. The comment from Hansen was in the “All or Nothing: All Blacks” documentary on Amazon Video. Well worth a viewing if you have access and a spare 6 hours…

    2. The idea that Marfo is in Scotlands best XV is laughable. Otherwise pretty much agree, although would say Kinghorn could probably oust Maitland or Seymour (on recent form). Also difficult to say Dunbar is our best 12 when he is constantly injured.

  11. FF, I am not going to have the tedious argument about what constitutes world class – but Ireland do not have 6.

    1. They might not have 6 but they have 4 in my opinion and the worlds best coach

      like Nz they probaly manage there players better than any other country also.

      1. Yeah I’d say 5 – the 4 I mentioned which I think are pretty much unarguable as all in the Lions test team that went toe-to-toe with NZ in NZ and are definitely in the top few players in their position in the world – and I’d add Henshaw. He’s not the flashiest or my favourite player but he has impeccable defence, rarely makes mistakes, is massive but can also play a very creative role. He really has it all (except maybe a outstanding kicking game) and is the player Dunbar once threatened to be (but is no longer in touching distance of).

        If we’re honest, we have guys that have threatened to break into the top tier but not quite managed. Like Jonny Gray who just needs to push on and dominate games like the best locks out there. Or Bennett, who looked like a Scottish BOD but then played sevens, then got crocked and now is struggling to get back in the Scotland team. Or Russell, who one minute looks like the best player in the world and the next minute looks like he’s at training with a hangover.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion