Glasgow Warriors forward Tim Swinson has been “invited” into the wider Scotland squad for Rugby World Cup 2019. Swinson was last capped in 2018 and had a similarly late call-up to the 2015 squad as second/back row cover, a role he looks like he might yet fill in Japan.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that Blade Thomson at 6ft6 is a candidate to fill in that covering role going the other way, so the call up for Swinson could just be pragmatic in terms of numbers with the aim to wait and see how that other injury turns out before making the final call on Thomson next week. No word if he’s been doing that in training though, pure speculation on my part. Interesting fact: Thomson played 10 of his 30 Super Rugby starts for the Hurricanes at lock, as well as all 4 of his Junior World Championship starts for the Baby Blacks.
With Skinner recently being considered more as a second row than a back row, it means yet another snub of Richie Gray who must be match fit given the Top 14 started last weekend. He definitely doesn’t fit the hybrid role that Townsend seems to be looking for though.
UPDATE: Gray ruled himself out: see https://www.theoffsideline.com/richie-gray-rules-himself-out-of-scotlands-world-cup-squad/
If Swinson does go as a fourth lock after Gray, Gilchrist and Toolis it would also be harsh on Scott Cummings who is in pretty good form.
Sam Skinner injured his hamstring in the match against France and after a scan on the evening of the game has now sadly been ruled out, with the recovery time required “deemed insufficient to play a meaningful part in Scotland’s Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign”, to quote the SRU press release.
It’s a harsh blow indeed for a player who looked like he would have a big role to play in the squad. All the best with the recovery Sam.