SCOTLAND captain Stuart Hogg is expected to make his Exeter Chiefs comeback away to Worcester Warriors this weekend, after more than a month out of action with a hamstring injury picked up against Gloucester on Boxing Day.
Assuming the full-back comes through Saturday’s match unscathed, national team head coach Gregor Townsend is confident that the 28-year-old will be able to start the following weekend’s Six Nations opener against England at Twickenham.
Townsend also remains hopeful that Jamie Ritchie will have got over his concussion in time for the Calcutta Cup match, while Alex Craig, the uncapped Gloucester lock, has not joined the national team’s training camp as he recovers from a calf injury, while Edinburgh’s Nick Haining to return to the set-up this week instead.
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“Stuart is fit to play this weekend,” said Townsend, at the Six Nations’ virtual media launch this morning (Wednesday), adding that Jonny Gray will also return to Exeter this weekend.
“Jamie Ritchie was the only one that was managed yesterday – he’s been taking part in the non-contact areas so he’s on the return to play.
“We’re confident enough that he’s making progress. He feels much better where he is. He ran yesterday and had no reaction, he’s done skill-work today and been involved in a lot of the session from what I can tell.
“We’ll just wait and see – returning from head injuries sometimes takes longer but we’ll be monitoring him each day.
“We’re 10 days away from the game so if Jamie continues to make progress – by the weekend we’ll be in a much better position to see if he can play in that game.”
“Everyone [else] who’s here has been training almost fully, with the exception of Jamie.
“Alex Craig has stayed with his club. He is recovering from a calf niggle but we’ve heard from the club that he should be available to play this weekend.”
“Nick Haining has trained with us this week.”
Townsend confirmed that Finn Russell is likely to remain with the Scotland squad throughout the Championship, rather than returning to Racing 92 on the fallow weekends.
“He is staying with us this weekend and given the restrictions there are around travelling between the UK and France, more from the French side, the quarantine regulations he’d have to go through, it looks like he’ll be staying with us,” said the coach.
“That may change as the COVID situation changes all the time, but it looks like he’ll be here for the whole period.”
Didn’t see the Exeter game today but I can say that Hutchison was outstanding in Northampton’s win away at Gloucester. The tries he scored or set up were superb including a deft cross-field kick to the left touchline. He looked very sharp and really put his hand up for a place in the squad…
Glad to hear Russell is staying in the camp. By all accounts hes been leading some of the backs training and an extra weekend with them might make all the difference. Here’s hoping for another MOTM performance against the English.