LOOSE-HEAD props Nick Auterac and Robin Hislop, and tight-head Javan Sebastian, have been added to Scotland’s training squad this week ahead of Sunday’s match against Australia, while loose-head Rory Sutherland and back-row Rory Darge drop out due to injury.
Back-row Magnus Bradbury and winger/full-back Damien Hoyland also leave the squad, while Scott Cummings comes in but remains unavailable for selection as he continues his recovery from an arm injury sustained at the start of August.
Sutherland, who beams a Lions Test player in South Africa last summer, has an oblique [abdomen] injury sustained while on club duty with Worcester Warriors following his move south from Edinburgh this summer. Darge, who has been on blistering for this season for Glasgow Warriors, picked up an ankle injury playing against Leinster two weeks ago and appears not to have recovered as quickly as initially hoped.
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On Tuesday afternoon, Scotland defence coach Steve Tandy acknowledged that it is unlikely that either player will now be fit and available to b called back into the squad ahead of the second half of Scotland’ Autumn schedule, which involves gams against the world champion Springboks at Murrayfield on on 13th November, and against Japan at the same venue seven days later.
“The medics are still looking at a couple of things and we don’t know the exact timelines but it looks like it might be a struggle for the autumn,” said the Welshman.
Meanwhile, all three of the called-up props were involved in Scotland’s aborted summer schedule. Auterac is a Saracens academy graduate, now playing for Northampton Saints, who qualifies through a Scottish grandmother. Sebastian currently plays for Scarlets having had a spell with Glasgow Warriors on a partnership contract with Ayr in 2015-16, and qualifies through his father. Hislop is a former Scotland Under-20s captain who was born and raised in Langholm, had a spell with Edinburgh, and who now plays for Wasps.
It is unlikely that any of that trio will feature against Australia this Sunday, but Townsend will hope they have their feet under the table by the time Scotland play their fourth Test in as many weekends against Japan on 20th November.
“There’s real quality in the guys we’re bringing in,” added Tandy. “It’s a good opportunity to see these guys first hand and work together with them. The loose-head props are performing really well for their clubs and it’s good to get them in camp. Some of the boys were here in the summer and the coaches spoke really highly of them.
“We’ll tidy up selection later but if they come in and are part of the environment, they’re available for selection. It’s not just to have a couple of days with us. It’s for a reason … that we want to have a hard look at them. They’ll be part of the selection process.”
Tandy confirmed that all of the 11 England and/or France based players in the extended training squad who were not allowed to play against Tonga last weekend because the game scheduled outside the international window did return to the Scotland camp on Monday, and are all in the selection mix for this coming weekend.
“The Exeter boys and the Lions boys were playing high profile games,” he said. “Now they’ve come back in. But a lot of the boys stood up [for Scotland] at the weekend, the new cappers, everyone performed, which was exciting.
“It’s getting harder to pick the teams now. We’re building some strength in depth and it was great to see the boys be ruthless on the weekend. For us as coaches, if selections are more and more difficult it makes things exciting.”
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