GREGOR TOWNSEND has paid tribute to veteran hooker Stuart McInally, who was called up to Scotland’s World Cup squad just a week and a half ago as emergency cover when Dave Cherry suffered a concussion, but is now about to fly home again with a neck injury.
With the 33-year-old due to retire after this World Cup window, he has been deprive the chance to bow out on the biggest stage, and steps away from playing whilst stranded on 49 caps.Johnny Matthews of Glasgow Warriors has now joined the squad as a replacement.
“Right now, he [McInally] is very emotional,” said Townsend “He got a presentation in the changing room from the players and Grant Gilchrist gave him a fantastic speech. It’s a very emotional time for all of us, especially Stuart.
“To get the news on Saturday that he wasn’t going to recover in time from a neck injury he picked up in training is so disappointing for him. We all thought this would be a great way for him to end his career, coming out and getting his 50th cap and contributing to our World Cup career.
“That was something he deserved and had earned given what he had put into that jersey over his career and what he has put in over the last three months.
“It’s just bad luck – it wasn’t even an injury in the session, it was more that at the end of the session he felt pain in his neck. It didn‘t recover for two days and we had him scanned on Saturday, to see if there was a bigger issue, which there is.”