Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Hamish Watson hand injury forces withdrawal

Hamish Watson
Hamish Watson - pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Head Coach Gregor Townsend has today announced four additional players called up to the Scotland squad, who met up in camp yesterday.

The principle casualty from a heavy weekend of Scottish action in the Heineken Champions Cup for Edinburgh was Hamish Watson who suffered a hand injury during a tackle and has dropped out of the squad for now.

Watson’s loss means the chances of John Hardie and/or Jamie Ritchie starting increase massively, especially with the continued absence of John Barclay.

Johnny Gray and Ryan Wilson were big name substitutions for Glasgow in their loss to Saracens, while Sam Johnson suffered a concussion, but all three remain with the squad and so their chances of recovery must be better.

The replacements called up are Alex Dunbar and back rows Luke Crosbie, Matt Smith and Rob Harley.

43 Responses

  1. While I’m gutted that Pinball looks like being unavailable for at least the first 2 games, I’m actually quite excited about the prospect of Ritchie and Hardie playing together. We should be very competitive at the breakdown.

  2. While gutted at losing Watson, am at least amused that his withdrawal has caused a centre and three back rowers to be called up…

    1. Probably thinking that with the likes of Barclay, Watson and Brown not available they need another turnover specialist like Dunbar.

  3. Any idea on the status of Denton, Thompson and du Preez – none of them have played since their autumn injuries

      1. Cornell’s injury is a bad one – fractured larynx. Out for the rest of the season . Suggestion is he might not be able to play again. Hopefully not the case but I think its wait and see.

    1. Thompson on return to play protocols.
      Got knocked unconscious and has played back 2 back seasons. Needs the rest. Might see him towards the ends of the tournament.

    1. Hardie is a strong international class openside, no worries about him covering for watson albiet it is a loss in an already weak carrying pack

      Hopefully no more injuries, could be catastrophic to loose Mcinally/Hogg/Gilchrist or Russell

      1. Dell
      2. Mcinally
      3. Nel
      4. Gray
      5. Gilchrist
      6. Skinner
      7. Hardie
      8. Strauss

      16. Stewart (for last 5 mins if we way ahead)
      17. Allan
      18. Berghan
      19. Ritchie
      20. Wilson

      Can still just about put out a monster pack but requires.

      1. Strauss was pants in the AIs. I’d edge towards Ashe but given he blows hot and cold too I think we’ll struggle to put out a properly competitive back row. Only good news is Parisse is old and Polledri is injured.

      2. Skinner is a lock!
        Skinner is a lock!
        Skinner is a lock!
        Skinner is a lock!
        Skinner is a lock!
        Skinner is a lock!

        Ritchie is the best 6 we have on current form.

      3. Only because Simmonds is injured. He was always a lock when Exeter have had their 1st choice back row available.

        Skinner got MoM at lock against Fiji and looked out of place against SA in the back row. Why have him as another Itoje when we have some of the best back row forwards in the 6N. Would you consider him at 6 if Barclay was fit, or would he start at lock?

        Its a bit like Horne at 10, he is a 12 who can play 10 at club level. Will struggle at international level and always no more than 2nd choice if Russell is fit/available.

  4. What’s the HIA timeframe for Sam Johnson?

    Re back row, Strauss, Hardie, Ritchie – Graham on bench

    1. I think the comment I read was from Mike Blair and it was that Sam Johnson failed his HIA assessment so not back on pitch but did OK in assessment after match. If he is symptom free, he will hopefully be available for the Italy match but I would be very surprised if he appeared for Warriors on Friday.

  5. What’s the scoop with Dunbar? Was he injured before or was he just not selected? Happy for Hardie to get a look back in, if he can produce anything like the performances he had in the RWC and that he is a more than capable substitute for pinball. He’s a hard hitter too which we lack somewhat, although he does have an annoying habit of getting himself injured. Injuries are sadly just part of the modern game, no sides are without injury issues we just have to adapt, our depth is slowly increasing, injuries give opportunities to others, many good players have broken out when given a chance due to injury of the highly rated incumbent, Ali Price springs immediately to mind. Anything less than a win against Italy and France should be considered failure. Ireland is a massive ask for any team in the world at the moment but we beat them 2 years ago at Fortress Murrayfield! Record is against us at Twickenham of course, I don’t think it will be the same clueless England of 12 months ago either. We could and are quite capable of beating Wales providing we don’t save that game for our now traditional one match 6N implosion!

    1. I remember seeing a video once of Hardie when he broke into the Highlanders side. He was quite a pretty boy. Now he looks like a journeyman middleweight boxer. To many clear outs to the face.

  6. I wonder if any gentle persuasion is applied to Toonie in his selections particularly around hooker – pick Kerr for the bench while Brown & Turner are out and at least some hookers might be around to play in the Pro 14. I know players are released back to the clubs but Cockers must be having sleepless nights over the fact that virtually all his pack will disappear for the next few weeks. Just feel this years 6N really highlights the need for another professional team before too long (apologies for raising that old chestnut again!). BTW, what happened to SRU’s discussions with Newcastle? But before too much gloom, still think we can muster a decent back row – Strauss gets another chance at 8 & if no joy, bring on Ashe.

    1. There shouldn’t be any ‘gentle persuasion’ , The National game trumps pro14 by a mile and the strongest possible squad available should be picked.

      Cockers has Ford and academy prospect Fenton available, if Mcinally and Cherry both make a matchday squad.

      Glasgow only really have Bryce which is hugely concerning, perhaps they can just throw in that ogre Petrus du plessis in there if need be, sure he could hold it up.

      Edinburgh can throw out a big pack still.

      1. Shoeman
      2. Ford
      3. Mcallum
      4. McKenzie
      5. Hunter-Hill
      6. Hamilton
      7. Nayolo
      8. Mata

      1. I’m sure Hamilton is injured but I see your point.

        Plenty options available away from the International selected players

      2. As is Nayolo.

        1 – 5 is fine, behind that we have Miller and Mata but everyone else is away or injured, so not sure who we will play alongside them.

    2. SB

      “Just feel this years 6N really highlights the need for another professional team before too long (apologies for raising that old chestnut again!)”

      Why. With a third team you would have the same players in the Scotland squad with the remaining players required to fill 3 teams rather than 2 ie Cockerill would have even less players to pick from!

      1. I think at some point in the future a third pro team might be feasible but we are not at that stage yet. The academies are churning out good players at a good rate but I don’t think we have a surplus yet that is seeing pro quality players with nowhere to go. I’m sure there are a small handful of players in the club game and another handful who could be tempted up from England as well as unlimited South Africans but is there really enough for a competitive squad in Scotland? Both pro teams currently make pretty full use of their squads beyond a couple like Marfo and Tagive. Perhaps some players could play for the third team most of the time like Hodgson or Nicol but frankly you cant build a competitive team with fringe players and there is no chance we would want to weaken the two current sides.

      2. I do not think it will ever happen, there is just not the demand. Scotland’s population is Central Belt with Dundee and Aberdeen hugging the North East Coast. Glasgow dont sell out every game, Edinburgh ( a rugby city with the borders next door) get 2-3 k maximum. The super 6 is the compromise.

        IMO the best of the limited options is to invest , in a going concern south of the border. However that also brings on many complications from the simple relocation of players through to managing the RFU. It is not happening either.

        The next step is establishing the super six and grow academy players in these centres of excellence .

    3. I think if you look at the WRU you’d rethink this idea, they have a bigger player base and higher turnover but are haemorrhaging money trying to run 4 pro teams… each of which is on a shoe string budget. We need to be sure we can afford another pro team without sacrificing the competitiveness of our current sides.

    4. England will be ready for us this time and our back row is not as strong as it was at Murrayfield last year. Need the front 5 to get England on the back foot and then quick ball for the backs.

    5. Ok lets open this one up one more time. Where would we base the third pro side ? Why ? What is the business plan ? If you are based in Warks ( lucky you) you may have a better perspective than we do as you are not as close to it.

  7. As an aside, when I re-watched the Edinburgh v Glasgow game on TV and saw the early incident where DTHvdM and Darcy Graham clattered into each other, I saw Graham drink something from a small bottle handed to him by the medic, “wonder what that is” I thought. Am now reading something about “pickle juice” to alleviate pain and prevent cramps, so presume it was that. Doesn’t sound like the tastiest bevvie…

    1. On the rare occasion I buy a jar of pickled onions I always drink the vinegar. Actually find it quite pleasurable lol

      Always seems like drinking a magic potion.

  8. Biggest pack:


    1. Team for Italy 1Dell 2 McInally 3Nel. 4Gilchrist. 5Toolis. 6Ritchie 7Hardie 8Ashe. 9Laidlaw 10Russell. 11Maitland. 12P Horne if fit 13Huw Jones. 14 Seymour. 15 Hogg. Bhatti. Kerr. Berghan Gray Wilson G Horne Kinghorn Dean thoughts

  9. Question I have is are any of the injured players likely to return at the back end of the tournament? We already feel like we are back to bare bones in a couple of places and the 6N is a brutal tournament.

    For example Magnus Bradbury was talked about at one point as being due back soon? And is there scope for any of them to play for their clubs beforehand?

    1. I saw Fraser Brown (knee) and Zander Fagerson (ankle?) were both back at training earlier this week, that bodes well for them maybe being available for Glasgow soon. Mark Bennett I think isn’t far away for Edinburgh. Townsend was hinting that Barclay could be back for Edinburgh’s CC QF. Obviously keeping Johnson, Wilson and Gray jr in the squad means that Townsend expects them to be back fit at some point in the (near) future.

  10. Sorry to see you out with an injury Hamish, but enjoy your rest my boy, you’ve worked hard ,and you’ve set a bench mark that even Hardie has to play at his best to follow. You two lads have a chemistry that seems to be the connection running through the whole team. It brings out the best in the team. Get well soon all on the injury list. I hope one day to see a Bennet and Jones partnership, among many others.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion