Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell ruled out of Italy match

Richie Gray remains a doubt for Saturday's game, while Charlie Savala and Josh Bayliss have joined up with the national squad

Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg
Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg will sit out Saturday's match against Italy after being injured against Ireland yesterday. Image: © Craig Watson.

STUART Hogg and Finn Russell will both miss Scotland’s final match of the Six Nations against Italy on Saturday because of injuries sustained in yesterday’s defeat by Ireland. Richie Gray remains a doubt, and a final decision on his availability should be made on Wednesday if not before.

Edinburgh stand-off Charlie Savala has been called into the squad as cover, although head coach Gregor Townsend could choose either Blair Kinghorn or the uncapped Ben Healy to play at 10 from his existing squad. Back-row forward Josh Bayliss has also returned to the squad after being released back to play for Bath last week.

Hogg damaged an ankle while Russell injured a knee ligament. It is expected that a precise prognosis for either player’s recovery will have to wait until they have been assessed by Exeter Chiefs and Racing 92, their respective clubs, but at this stage neither injury is thought to be long-term.

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The news was announced in an SRU statement which said: “Following the weekend’s game between Scotland and Ireland, Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell and Richie Gray sustained injuries.

“Stuart Hogg sustained an ankle injury and will be unavailable for this weekend’s match against Italy. He will return to his club in due course for further management of this injury.

“Finn Russell suffered an injury to one of his knee ligaments. He will return to Racing 92 to continue his rehabilitation.

“Richie Gray sustained an injury during the Ireland match and will remain with the squad to be continued to be assessed by medics.

“Edinburgh Rugby fly-half Charlie Savala has been added to the squad and Josh Bayliss has returned to the group having played for Bath at the weekend.”

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About Stuart Bathgate 1414 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.


  1. As BOTH a Glasgow Warriors and Scotland Supporter I am very disappointed that GEORGE HORNE has again NOT made the 23.

    Down Scotstoun way at least George is the favoured ” Son” ahead of Ally Price !!

    Also a more than useful goalkicker. Unsure to me who kicks the goals before Healey comes on ? Doubt if Blair Kinghorn’s stats match Horne’s !!

  2. I think Healy is a solid, reliable 10 with a good kicking game and great off the tee.
    He’s not really an attacking 10.

    It’s a big ask to throw him in.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Maitland in at 15 and Kinghorn at 10 with Healy on the bench.

  3. Please just no….Brown, J Gray, H Watson, Harris, Price, Berghan….they are all setting us back…either poor form or just not good enough…we have better in form who deserve their chance. GT is too slow to make the changes to his favorites and it sets us back.

    Ashman, Henderson, McDowell, Crosbie, Healy, Horne, Smith, Nel……all should be in the 23 at least…

    In addition…NO Kinghorn at 10….he is a 15 all day long…and certainly not a 10..and a 4th choice wing at best.

  4. We all know what has to happen here. Healey gets his chance at ten, with Kinghorn at 15. Anything else is madness. Really sorry to lose Finn, for he is a magician. But we still haven’t got an established number two as back-up with the World Cup looming. It sure as heck ain’t Savala, who even at club level is a makeweight – hence the recruitment of Healey. Hogg is sadly not the loss he once was, although his big boot will be missed. Just a shame Fraser Brown hasn’t been given the shepherd’s crook in favour of for Cherry or Ashman – a much younger, more dynamic player who offers the novelty of throwing the ball straight, even when under pressure.

  5. I think we will be ok, id personally slot Kinghorn back in at 10 and bring young Ollie Smith in at 15 for this match against Italy. Smith looked impressive against Oz in the ALS and I think has the credentials step in and do a job. I would possibly look to bring Crosbie back into the 23 who did absolutely nothing wrong in the opening 2 games, I would also try where at all possible to get Nel back in to the fold. Is it time to try Ashman again perhaps for Brown?

    A final thought-
    One good by product of Sunday could be that the Irish might have written us off for the RWC group game against them. Their horribly anti Scottish media are already in a tailspin of myopic superiority complex arrogance towards us, some continued mocking of our team and players. Perhaps we might just surprise them come the RWC, surely we have to click and put in a strong 80mins against Ireland at some point!! We can manage it against most of the others, it has to come against them too

    • I look forward to seeing Smith in a 15 jersey for Scotland and his time will come, but for all his silky skills Kinghorn is not an international ten. That theory has been tested to destruction.

    • We’ll have to be an awful lot cleverer and less emotional to beat them than we were on Saturday.
      Once they installed a flanker as their dart thrower we could’ve kicked the ball off the park all day knowing they’d throw to number 2 and had a bit of a breather.
      Oh well.

  6. It just goes to show our vaunted depth is not there. When we start our top 15 it looks really good. We have 2 really good 10’s Russell and Hastings with nothing behind them. The front 3 looked really good against top Irish opposition until they were subbed. After that Irelands lineout with a 7 throwing in looked better than ours… Steyn tries really hard but he is not quick enough for a modern day winger. Particularly when we have a defensive structure that leaves the wings totally exposed. When will Graham be fit? And why don’t we bring back Maitland? I hope I’m wrong but I think we are in danger of the wheels coming off against Italy. BK is no 10 but would be a great choice at 15, which leaves just Healy.. it also shows that in the unlikely event we get out of the Group at the World Cup any injuries will leave us very weakened.

  7. Has somebody been passing out the LSD ?? Healy?? A third choice player at his previous club and not even in the same universe as his own nation in terms of squad to now be a starter with a set of players he has no chemistry with whatsoever?? Seriously?? If we are at the point we are seriously looking at that we should step down and swap with Georgia (just like our u20s) Healy is bang average for a reserve URC player…and that’s being kind. Maybe what we need between now and RWC is a proper reality check so we can clear out the whole corrupt cabal n give us a chance to recover some respectability by 2031

    • Not much between the 3 stand offs at Munster. Jamie Dobie is 3rd choice at Glasgow and he’s good. Who else is there – bring back Duncan Weir. If Healy is picked he may surprise us all. (In a good way).

    • Many of the Irish rugby pundits were pretty sore to see him go, which is always a good indicator. He’s untested for sure, but definitely has potential. With Italy on paper the “easiest” game, it probably makes sense to give him a go, assuming he’s had enough game time recently?

    • Many of the Irish pundits were pretty sore to see Healy go which is a sign they rated him. Of our 6N games, Italy at home is probably the one to give him a go, although I don’t know how much game time he’s been getting recently.

    • I’m not sure we are left with any option other than to pick Healy. BK is no 10 but a good replacement for Hogg.

  8. Schoeman, Turner, Fagerson Z, Cummings, Gray R/J, Ritchie, Fagerson M, Watson;
    White, Healy; DVDM, Tuipulotu, Jones H, Steyn; Kinghorn

    Bhatti, Ashman, Nel, Henderson, Dempsey, Horne G, McDowall, Smith O,

    • No just no, that back row is all wrong and a throwback to 2 years ago. The current inform players are Ritchie Dempsey Crosbie. Gives us much more balance, size, power and athleticism …..and shall I say it again ….form.

  9. A blessing in disguise? We’re only 4 games away from the WC
    Too reliant on Russell to make things happen. The Kinghorn experiment didn’t work, Hastings is off the radar. Time for Healy to step up and prove his worth.
    Ollie Smith is the heir apparent to Hogg with Kinghorn as the perennial sub.
    Where the next generation of props is coming from needs to be addressed pdq

  10. Healy at 10, Smith at 15, Kinghorn on the bench for cover and impact. Kinghorn has done nothing wrong but for me better to bring him when there is more space. Why change anything at 11, 12, 13 & 14. That only becomes a difficult decision when Darcy Graham is fit again. 12 & 13 have been on fire for us. Need to think long and hard at 16, 17 & 18 ahead of the RWC

    Bringing players in from teams that are used to being beaten isn’t the right mentality we need to instil in the squad. Bath are bottom

  11. I would have been happy to lose Hogg for Kinghorn, but Finn is huge, there is no one close as a replacement. I just wonder if Finn’s poor 2nd half was anything to do with the injury. Any news on Graham yet , any chance for this weekend.
    I would go Kinghorn , VDM ,Tuipulotu , Jones and bring in Maitland. Bring back Skinner instead of J Gray and Cummings if R Grey is not fit. I thought Matt was a bit at sea at 6 , while Dempsey had a really good game at 8 , swap them around or bring Crosby in at 6 and put Matt back to 8. As for 10 have never watched Savala so that looks highly dangerous, Kinghorn or Healy can you bring in a guy who has never played for Scotland?
    time will tell. The Italians must be happier with this news.

    • Re second half performance, I agree it looks like a strong possibility FR was slowing and that was enough to knock our attack from promising to predictable .. if so, damn shame.

      Surely Savala there to assist with training, though perhaps in a few years he may be an option, so an eye to that.

      Hogg must be Kinghorn, Russel must be Healy, Hope RG fit or our lineout looks poor, agree Skinner for JG. Other than Dempsey none of our other backrows seemed to have fired like last year, even Richie. And please bring back Nel and ANO*2 for the 3Bs

    • Are you joking. Drop our best forward on Saturday by a country mile. Back row should be Ritchie Dempsey Crosbie .Although I appreciate Townsend finds it impossible to drop his favourites or at least keeps coming back to them when there are better in form players available.

  12. Just exposes our lack of options at 10. Ireland could comfortably replace Sexton with 2/3 quality 10s. Suspect BK at 10 and Ollie at 15. No sense in disrupting an effective backline otherwise. Replace the injured directly and the attacking systems. Hope RG makes it as our line-out isn’t the same without him.

  13. Please not Charlie Savala – he was calamitous against Leinster recently and is nowhere international class. Better with BK at 15 and Healy at 10 at least his natural position and then don’t need to mess with the centres.

    • Agree. Happy enough for Kinghorn to replace Hogg, but not Russell. It would be madness to split Tuipulotu and Jones.

  14. Not unexpected…. And does introduce some interesting selection questions before RWC… Do both Kinghorn and Healy start at 15 and 10 respectively (would love to see Kinghorn given the time at FB) or does Smith start at 15 with Kinghorn at 10 and Healy on bench? Just gotta hope that we see Horne on bench or start, and possibly Redpath on the bench rather than Harris? Harris works as a defensive starter (and possibly has covered VdM errors in past) but I struggle to see what he offers from the bench unless we are 20up. Looking forward to a good game, and never a gimme.

  15. Hopefully BK at 15.Healy to start at 10 with Ollie Smith on the bench. Madness to split up the Tupo/Jones combination. Cummins & Skinner in the second row. Anyone but Berghan to cover tighthead

  16. Well that just about makes my week, all that’s needed now is to hear the PA announcer has passed the vocal test and my week is complete.

  17. Ouch. Horrible feeling we will revert to BK at 10 with Jones moving out to FB and Harris back in the centre. Really hope that’s not the way we go. Really isn’t a game we should be underestimating as the wins over Wales and England look a lot less impressive the more we have seen of them. Savala has looked off the pace at even URC level so surely won’t be troubling the match day squad?? RE Bayliss coming back in, have we been looking at Bradbury at all? Starting regularly with Bristol who are playing well again. Surely we will let Horne come back in? Skinner should be in over J Gray for me. Gray Jnr has looked cumbersome in recent matches and adds very little with ball in hand.


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