Sione Tuipulotu sidelined for eight to 12 weeks

His Glasgow and Scotland team-mate Richie Gray is also now expected to be out until mid-May

Sione Tuipulotu
Sione Tuipulotu will miss a number of key games for Glasgow as he recovers from a knee injury. Image: © Craig Watson

SIONE TUIPULOTU will be out of action for up to three months as a result of the knee injury he sustained in Scotland’s victory over England last week.

The Glasgow centre was already expected to miss the two remaining rounds of the Six Nations, in which Scotland are away to Italy then Ireland, but his projected absence is considerably longer than originally hoped – earlier this week Warriors assistant coach Nigel Carolan suggested that the 27-year-old might only be out for four to five weeks.

However, while breaking the bad news yesterday, Glasgow head coach Franco Smith pointed out that, in what is a very long campaign, Tuipulotu is still likely to be back in plenty of time for the URC play-offs, which begin on 7th June.


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“I think it will be way before that,” Smith explained. “He’s got an MCL injury – it’ll keep him off around eight to 12 weeks. 

“It all depends on how the first reaction to treatment is. There’s no operation needed, though.

“It’s 16 weeks until the end of the competition – it’s a long time. You can get a hip replacement and still make it!

“It’s such a long time that you can literally break your leg and get back for the last part. That’s what [Glasgow back-row forward] Jack Mann did, unfortunately, and he’s already back running.”

Richie Gray, who was ruled out of the Six Nations after injuring a bicep in the win over Wales, now could return to action around the same time as Tuipulotu. “Richie’s going to be out till at least the middle of May,” Smith said of the veteran lock. “He’s still a long way off.”

Meanwhile, Jamie Bhatti has been added to the Warriors’ injury list after an accident in training. However, the loosehead prop is expected to be available if called upon for Scotland’s game in Rome a week today [Saturday 9th]. 

“Unfortunately he was meant to be on the bench but for a freakish accident in the gym session,” Smith explained. “There was a weight misplaced that caught the top of his foot. 

“There’s nothing broken or serious, but there’s a lot of pain. We just thought that in consideration for Scotland next week then for him to run awkwardly and not bear his full strength that he’d be better to be ready for next week and the couple of weeks Scotland have left.”

 

 

The good news on the injury front is that Sebastian Cancelliere is back in the starting line-up to take on Benetton this afternoon [Saturday]. The Argentine winger has been sidelined since early December.

“Against Northampton in the last action of the game he hurt his neck and it developed into a bulging disc,” Smith added. “So we’re really happy to have him back. He’s been training well for a long while now but had to be cleared for contact. He used the time away from the field very well. He brings a lot of value to the team so we’re very excited to have him with us.”

The last time Glasgow visited Benetton was for Smith’s first competitive match in charge of the team, back in September 2022. The visitors went down 33-11 in that game, the opening fixture of last season’s URC. But, pointing out that his team had had minimal preparation for the match, the head coach insisted that it would have no bearing on today’s encounter at the Stadio do Monigo. 

“I think it’s irrelevant – we’re not going to take extra baggage. It was the start and we found our way quite quickly after that. It was our very first game, we had no warm-up games. The next week against Cardiff we scored 50 points at home and it was a good reaction to that.

“So we’ve taken the lesson on board and now we’re looking at progressing and getting the same players to play even better. And we don’t want to put on any extra pressure or take extra baggage on our shoulders.”

 


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About Stuart Bathgate 1387 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.