Hamish Watson touch and go for start of Six Nations

Stuart McInally set to miss both 1872 Cup games but Edinburgh coach Mike Blair is more hopeful about others

Hamish Watson
Hamish Watson has not played since being injured against New Zealand in November. Image: © Craig Watson. www.craigwatson.co.uk

HAMISH Watson, who has been out of action since sustaining a head injury playing for Scotland against New Zealand last month, is now a doubt for the start of the Six Nations.

Edinburgh coach Mike Blair explained this afternoon that, while the back-row forward was making good progress and had resumed some light training on his own, he is still some way from making a return. Asked if Watson would be back for the beginning of the Championship, Blair said: “I would have thought around that time.” Scotland’s first game in the tournament is away to England on 4 February. 

Blair said: “Hamish had his head knock. He has seen the specialist [Professor Toni Belli] down in Birmingham and we are waiting to see the scan results. 

“Everything else has come through as fine – but because he has had a number [of concussions] in a short time he has to have an enforced break. We’re not 100 percent sure when he will be back, but he is feeling really good and he’s doing a lot of running and weights.

“The specialist has worked with the military a lot. Our guys go to see him. I think it is great the care the guys are getting. It is not so much that we are getting more head knocks – we’re just more conscious of them and make sure guys get the right treatment.”

Meanwhile, Edinburgh hooker Stuart McInally is set to miss both of this season’s  1872 Cup games against Glasgow this Friday and next after he was concussed in the win against Castres last Saturday. “Stuart is definitely unavailable for the next couple of weeks,” said Blair.

With Dave Cherry and Adam McBurney still sidelined by injury, the coach is expected to name Tom Cruse and Patrick Harrison as his two hookers in the squad for Friday. Harri Morris is back-up after returning from a loan spell at London Scottish.

“Dave will be back in the next couple of weeks,” the coach added. “Adam will be back mid-January. So that’s when the reinforcements arrive – we’re holding on a bit till then.

 “Paddy has done realty well with the opportunities he has had and Tom was excellent at the weekend as well. We’re fortunate we have a number in that position.”

Blair is hopeful that Blair Kinghorn and Luke Crosbie, who like McInally were  injured against the French side, will be available for Friday. And he is confident that Duhan van der Merwe, who had to pull out of the Champions Cup game because of an ankle injury, will also be able to play against Glasgow.

“Blair had a back spasm. With those you never really know how long they’re going to take to clear up. He didn’t train today, but our expectation is that he should be available for selection on Friday.

“Luke has had a pretty heavy workload over the past four weeks. He had yesterday off to refresh himself and put himself in the position to be available.

“Duhan is fine. Duhan trained the day before the game and we just felt we didn’t want to risk him, because he wasn’t quite there. But he trained fully today and there were no issues.”

About Stuart Bathgate 1213 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.

9 Comments

  1. In all honestly, 2022 wasn’t a great year internationally for Mish. He had little or no impact in the 6 Nations, and given the strength in depth we have in the back row, it started to feel that he was holding on to his place almost by reputation alone.

    Let him recover fully, and let’s see what others can do come February.

  2. Sonsie’s right about the front row cover. With Fagerson likely to be out, Walker promising but not ready to start in 6N. With the best will in the world we’re not going to get 5 games out of WPN. Never been convinced by Berghan. Is it time to have another look at D’Arcy Rae. Starts regularly for Bath and presumably a much better player now than when he got his first cap.

  3. Sonsie is absolutely right about front row cover. With Fagerson likely to be out, with the best will in the world we’re not going to get 5 games out of WPN. Walker not ready. Unsure about Berghan. Time to have another look at D’Arcy Rae? Starting regularly for Bath and presumably a much better player now than when he got his first caps.

  4. Hamish is a great talented competitor but for his and his family’s sake needs to be wrapped in cottonwool until an absolute all clear can be issued.

    I see that Eddie is looking for a new international coaching position. Scotland ? !!!!

    • Eddie Jones could be a great option post world-cup for a 4 year cycle to be honest, he is a tough taskmaster and obviously wore down the England team in the last few years, but just looking at 1 world cup cycle he did wonders with Japan and England, both over 70% win margins.

      Could he be what we need to get a Six Nations trophy, even a 2nd place in the short term?

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      • He took England with an absolute embarrassment of riches in terms of player quality to 5th in 6n and only managed one solitary win over Townsend….are people so blind to how poor Jones has been in recent seasons. England should be miles ahead of where they are now. If he’s that bad with the English pool of players we would be looking at the oft spoken of relegation slot with what we (and SA reserves) have available. It’s one thing being ticked off by Townsend but aiming for the guy who can’t outwit Townsend is hardly progressive.

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      • Jones would be a terrible option. Appalling rugby and no team spirit with coaches and players being treated like dirt.

        He’s probably top of Dodson’s shopping list!

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  5. Its right to rest him for a couple of months…he’s a great servant to Scotland and Edinburgh. He needs looking after.

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  6. Wishing Hamish well for a speedy return. But ironically the back row is one of the few areas where Scotland is not short of options – even without the Mish and Rory Darge – and a return to the side without being match fit is not necessarily the best decision. For my money Luke Crosbie is the man who is putting his hand up for a start against England right now, so hopefully his ‘refresh’ is not an issue. Likewise Fagerson Junior, Jack Dempsey and Magnus Bradbury are all big lads who offer ballast to counter the usual monster English pack. Ritchie obviously is a top pick, while more lightweight options exist in the likes of Bailey and Christie. I’m much more worried about the front row, where the cover never runs much deeper than an injury or two away from a mini crisis.

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