SAM SKINNER has had an operation on his hamstring injury and could now be out until the New Year. When the Exeter lock sustained the injury in Scotland’s second warm-up match against France, the initial hope was that he would only be missing for four to six weeks.
That first prognosis led Scotland coach Gregor Townsend to say that, while Skinner would not be fit enough to be named in the 31-man squad for the World Cup, he should be available to take part in the tournament further down the line if others in his position were injured. Now, however, that chance is gone.
Townsend’s squad only contains four locks – Jonny Gray, Grant Gilchrist, Ben Toolis and Scott Cummings – while back-row forward Blade Thomson can also cover the position. If one of the quarter were to get injured, another back row, Magnus Bradbury, looks like being first in line to replace him. Bradbury travelled to Japan with the squad last week as cover for Jamie Ritchie.
It was Skinner’s club coach, Rob Baxter, who revealed that the 24-year-old had needed an operation and would now be out for a longer period than first expected. “He’s had an operation for what was a pretty severe injury,” Baxter said. “He’s going to be out for 12 to 16 weeks.
“It’s disappointing for him, but he’s a young guy who has excelled a lot over the last 12 months and his international future and his Premiership future is still there ahead of him. The important thing is to get the treatment of this injury right now so he comes back at 100 per cent.”
Skinner made his debut last year against Fiji and now has six caps. His ability to slot in on the blindside besides excelling at lock had looked certain to make him one of the key members of the Scotland pack in Japan.