ADAM HASTINGS appears set to be the latest leading Scotland player to be ruled out of some or all of the Six Nations – which kicks off in just over four weeks’ time – due to injury.
A statement from his club, Gloucester, has revealed that the stand-off requires surgery on his shoulder after damaging the joint during the West Country club’s Gallagher Premiership defeat away to Leicester on Christmas Eve, with head coach George Skivington stating earlier this week that “he will not be back any time soon”.
The injury occurred during the 26-year-old’s comeback match after he suffered whiplash and a knee injury whilst playing for Scotland against Fiji at the start of November.
Assuming that Gregor Townsend is not minded to throw out another wild selection gamble, Finn Russell would have started this Six Nations as first choice stand-off regardless of whether Hastings was available, and Blair Kinghorn was second cab off the rank in the Autumn.
However, behind that, No 10 options are alarmingly thin on the ground for the Scots. Townsend has made no secret of his desire to see Fin Smith in a dark blue jersey, but the Northampton Saints man – the grandson of former Scotland and Lions prop Tom Elliot – has yet to declare for Scotland or England, and the 20-year-old suffered a concussion playing for Saints against Harlequins on New Year’s Day. Meanwhile, Australian-born Charlie Savala and South African-born Jaco van der Walt, both of Edinburgh, as well as Irish-born Ben Healy who will switch from Munster to Edinburgh in the summer, could also be options.
Ross Thompson missed the start of the season whilst recovering from back surgery and then had ankle surgery at the end of November from which he was not expected to return until mid-February, and his Glasgow Warriors team-mate, Tom Jordan, doesn’t qualify for Scotland for another 18-months as he made the move north from his native New Zealand in 2019, which was after the three-year residency rule was extended to five years.
Other key players who are likely to miss some or all of the Six Nations are tight-head prop Zander Fagerson (expected to be out until at least February with a hamstring injury), winger Darcy Graham (out until February with a knee injury), flankers Hamish Watson (stood down with concussion since mid-November), fellow flanker Rory Darge (now back running after surgery on an ankle injury sustained at the end of September) and second-row Scott Cummings (“progressing well” after almost two and a half months out with a broken toe).