JAMIE RITCHIE is the biggest injury concern for the Scotland coaching team after tonight’s bruising victory over Georgia at Murrayfield. The flanker came off midway through the second-half with a facial injury and was heading off to hospital after the game to have the damage assessed.
Meanwhile, Blair Kinghorn and Ben Toolis picked up head knocks and will now go through the return to play protocol, while Jonny Gray and Blade Thomson had hamstring twinges and were removed early for precautionary reasons.
“Jamie Ritchie went off with a facial injury,” confirmed head coach Gregor Townsend. “He will be going to the hospital tonight to find out the severity of that. That is our most concerning injury as he had to be replaced with a suspected facial injury. We hope it is not anything that will keep him out of the World Cup.
“Two players had to be removed due to concussion. Blair Kinghorn had a cut on the back of his head and had symptoms when he was getting stitched up. He will go through the protocols. Ben Toolis picked up a head injury and was removed from the field of play.
“Blade Thomson felt his hamstring tightening up and his was more precautionary, as was Jonny Gray who had just come back from a hamstring injury.
“Obviously, the concern is if any will miss being on the plane [to Japan] and Jamie is the most concerning, and we hope it is good news when he comes back from his hospital visit later tonight.
“It was more the impact on his face,” replied Townsend, when asked if it was the cut to Ritchie’s face rather than blow which was causing concern.
While Scotland ran out comfortable winners in the end, their performance fell some way short of the level which will be required if the team are to progress out of their group in Japan. While Townsend was slightly frustrated by the lack of accuracy, he also stressed that it was hardly cause for panic at this stage.
“We got a couple of good tries but we didn’t hold on to the ball enough,” he said. “We gave Georgia possession too easily, sometimes through penalties and ill-discipline, sometimes through not looking after the ball in contact.
“We adapted well and played with a lot of energy in the last 15 minutes. We adapted really well to having to put three different people in to the second-row in the second half. We scrummed with seven men for the last 10 minutes. The players got together and found a way to get a comfortable win in the end.”
Scotland scrum really struggled at times and Townsend played this down.
“It was annoying,” he said. “We felt that some of the scrums were either very competitive or we got the nudge on and then we got penalised. The scrums were messy and a lot of them went down. Romain Poite tried to change the way the scrum were disrupting the game by putting two guys in the bin. I think it was two teams trying to have a go each other in the scrums.
“There were a lot of scrums so it was the best practice for our front-five and our front-row in particular. The positive was we got better and scrummed well with seven men.”