Edinburgh v Glasgow countdown: Sione Vailanu joins Warriors injury list

Tongan No 8 facing six to eight weeks on the sidelines with a knee issue

Sione Vailanu is out of action for six to eight weeks with a knee injury. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Sione Vailanu is out of action for six to eight weeks with a knee injury. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SIONE VAILANU is the latest Glasgow Warriors to face an extended period sidelined by injury after the Tongan back-rower suffered a knee injury during last weekend’s 22-10 victory over Edinburgh.

With Matt Fagerrson and Jack Dempsey both currently sidelined with facial injuries, Warriors depth at No 8 is being tested, however the form of Ally Miller in recent weeks after finally getting a long-awaited run in the team is a blessing for head coach Franco Smith, who has switched the former Edinburgh man to the middle of the back-row for this weekend’s 1872 Cup second-leg clash at Murrayfield while Tom Gordon take over at blindside flanker.

Vailanu appears to have suffered his injury from, a no-arms tackle from Hamish Watson in the 15th minute of last weekend’s 1872 Cup first-leg encounter, when the Edinburgh flanker lost his footing on the rain-sodden Scotstoun turf and escaped with just a penalty being awarded against him.


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“It’s more serious than we thought,” said Warriors head coach Franco Smith of the injury. “The no-arms tackle in rugby is sometimes more dangerous than the head collisions. We’ve got him and Gregor Brown both sidelined with similar injuries now. For Sione we’re looking at six to eight weeks out, it sounds like at this stage.”

There is currently 10 forwards out of a total of 14 players on the Warriors injured player list.

Glasgow Warriors players who are currently unavailable for selection: Fraser Brown (knee), Gregor Brown (knee), Sebastian Cancelliere (neck), Jack Dempsey (face), Jamie Dobie (ankle), Matt Fagerson (face), Sintu Manjezi (foot), Enrique Pieretto (knee), JP du Preez (knee), Ollie Smith (knee), Lucio Sordoni (shoulder), Kyle Steyn (ankle), Sione Vailanu (knee), Murphy Walker (knee).

Vailanu dropping out is one of three changes Smith has made to his starting XV for this weekend’s match, with the other two being Johnny Matthews and Tom Jordan coming in at hooker and stand-off respectively, in place of ben chide duo George Turner and Johnny Matthews.

“Johnny is a little bit fresher now, he’s played a little bit less, but the thing with George is he was doubtful at the beginning of the week with his bicep injury,” explained Smith. “We weren’t sure if he was going to be ready, so to eliminate doubt in the starting group we trained with Johnny there from the start.

“The benefit of having George’s experience on the bench is second to none. He brings good impact.

“It’s a good chance for both players to express themselves in various ways during the game. But the reason was to train the whole week with a group of players that was going to start.”

“With Ross and Tom, I said last week there was a plan to use both players in both games. There is some tactical and strategic thought behind it, but both are going to be applied at the right time of the game.

George Horne is a good goal-kicker for us and so is Ross – it’s going to be important for us to have them on the back end of the field if it becomes a very tight game.”


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About David Barnes 3820 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

8 Comments

  1. I’m sure there is no single cause to the knee injuries but a few including Darge are being caused by players in the jackal position being cleaned out either from the side or at a slight angle which puts a terrible load on the knee joint. Every time I watch a game and a jackalling players gets wiped out by several big forwards I fear for their knees. I think some of these clearcuts are definitely illegal especially when from the side and so the refs need to get tough on this. As some other posters have suggested this is probably the biggest long term injury type in the game.

  2. The new tackle height laws are only at community level, not in the pro-game, more likely the injuries are due to the artificial surface but given current climatic conditions, grass pitches are just not feasible in the north, not if you want to play regularly.

    • The Murrayfield main pitch manages fine. Have never been a fan of artificial surfaces so would be interested to see what evaluating the SRU does on particularly Scotstoun surface.

  3. An observation & question: Half of the injured players are out with knee injuries. Is the affect of the lower tackle height requirement causing increased damage to the knees and if so shouldn’t this be of considerable concern, especially given the susceptibility of the knees to either career ending injuries or lengthy recovery periods. (Note: I am certainly not trying to undermine head injuries prevention measures with this observation & question.)
    A high proportion of long-term injuries to a professional club (in any sport) can jeopardise their existence so this area of concern needs to be considered carefully.

    • it is something that should be monitored. But there are other serious issue. Main one is the so called ruck. defenders (mainly) are still crocodile rolled and too often lower leg trapped and twisted, I think this is the biggest one. Ankles and knees done for. Easily sorted by applying the laws of course, players must endeavour to stay on their feet (ie not roll on to their back judo style)
      And of course guys like Ollie Smith has a serious knee injury from sort of nothing really!

    • The new tackle height laws are only at community level, not in the pro-game, more likely the injuries are due to the artificial surface but given current climatic conditions, grass pitches are just not feasible in the north, not if you want to play regularly.

      • The tackle height within the pro game has certainly significantly reduced due to the certainty of being yellow or red carded if head contact is made. Your point about artificial playing surfaces being a contributing factor is a very valid point & is something that could be quite easily analysed by the SRU & other governing bodies to find out the true extent of this.
        As you rightly say, the use of artificial surfaces in Scotland is a necessity if regular training & playing is to happen over the winter months, so if these surfaces are a major contributor to the injuries then something needs to be quickly done to mitigate this root cause.

      • RFU publish data on injuries in the Premiership every season. One item for a good few seasons now compares injuries on grass and artificial surfaces. Statistically has so far shown no significant difference

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