Wales v Scotland reaction: Russell and Hastings injuries can’t take gloss off fine win

"We’re hoping their injuries aren’t serious but it does look quite bad just now," says head coach Gregor Townsend

Adam Hastings came off with just over 10 minutes to go after 'popping' his shoulder. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Adam Hastings came off with just over 10 minutes to go after 'popping' his shoulder. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SCOTLAND’S hard-fought victory over Wales at Parc y Scarlets earlier today could have come at a fairly significant cost, with stand-offs Finn Russell and Adam Hastings both picking up injuries which throw their involvement in the remainder of this Autumn’s Test schedule into doubt.

Scotland will have next weekend off before returning to action in the Nations Cup, which will see them play four matches against Italy (away), France and Fiji (both at home), then a play-off match (opponents and venue to be confirmed) on consecutive weekends between 14th November and 5th December.

“Finn is in more pain than Adam,” explained Townsend. “He was involved in a tackle and his leg just went to the side. He felt something go in his groin/adductor. It’s similar to what Grant Gilchrist did over in Munster with Edinburgh, and a couple of days later he thought he would be okay but that wasn’t the case – he’s had to have surgery [and has been ruled out of action for the remainder of the Autumn].”

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“Adam popped – subluxed is the technical term – his shoulder twice in the second half. The first went back in quite quickly and he carried on, but the second one he had to be removed from the field of play. Hopefully it won’t keep him out too long.

“We’ve got a week off to reflect on that and see where Finn and Adam are,” he added. “We’re hoping their injuries aren’t serious but it does look quite bad just now.”

If both players are ruled out then Townsend does have options at 10. The coach explained that he decided against moving James Lang to stand-off yesterday because there was nobody on the field suited to taking over his inside centre slot, but the Harlequins man has played there regularly at club level in the past so could be an option as a starter for Scotland.

He also suggested that Duncan Weir could come into the reckoning after some excellent performances for Worcester Warriors since rugby resumed, while Edinburgh’s South African-born playmaker Jaco van der Walt will qualify to play for Scotland on residency grounds in time for the visit of France to Murrayfield on 22nd November

“Duncan Weir has been playing really well [for Worcester Warriors] and Jaco van der Walt [Edinburgh’s South-African becomes qualified for France or Fiji.”

Captain Stuart Hogg moved to 10 during the game, but is not likely to be deployed there from the start.

“It was the easiest decision for the team, explained Hogg afterwards.” It was a case of just moving one person out of position. I am old enough and ugly enough to go in at ten, and have enough experience . I would not want to start there but I thought Ali Price at scrum-half helped us control the last 20 minutes so fair play to him.”

Ken Scotland Autobiography

While the injuries to Russell and Hastings could create a headache when attention turns towards the Italy, Townsend was not prepared to let concern over that detract from a moment which he and his team are entitled to savour. It was the first time Scotland have beaten Wales in Wales since 2002, and all the more satisfying for the character the team showed to get the result.

“It is great for this group to have some sort of confirmation that the hard work and progress that they are making his paying off,” said Townsend. “We had to work hard for that win which was good to see in a difficult situation with no crowds, good to see with the [difficult] wind, and good to see with the injuries we had – to see that character and power in the second half was really encouraging.”

It is a remarkable turnaround in fortunes from this time last year when Scotland had just returned home from the World Cup in Japan with their collective tails between their legs, having been catapulted out of the tournament at the end of the pool stage.

“We’ve had games before this Six Nations when our defence has been very good, but at times we’ve made it easy for teams both defensively and in what we have been doing in attack,” explained Townsend, when asked about how the squad has moved on from that bitter experience.  “Now we stay in the fight every game and although we didn’t get the rewards in the Ireland and England game, but we’ve won the last three games, and we know there is a lot more to come.

“With no crowd here, it’s hard to recreate that feeling you get when you beat England at home [in 2018],” he replied, when asked where this result ranks as a coaching highlight. “Nothing will come close to matching that just now, but when you see what it means to the players to finally get that win … they’re delighted. And for the millions of Scots watching at home, it will have lifted their spirits which is great.”


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Ken Scotland Autobiography
David Barnes
About David Barnes 2051 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

13 Comments

  1. Funny, it doesn’t seem that long since people were screaming about how slow Laidlaw’s distribution was … yesterday Price seemed to want to have a cup of tea and perhaps a small sandwich before picking the ruddy ball up!
    Lots of concerns about the lack of centre involvement in the last two games but we won handsomely against Georgia and defended well yesterday. Don’t know that Bennett, Jones, Hutchison, etc, could have done much better under the circumstances, although I do think Harris misjudged and overran for the return pass from Hogg which meant a forward pass and loss of possession when it should have been a try.
    But hey, we won!

    • The point is however that although we can not possibly know if Bennett, Jones or Hutchison could have been a better selection on the day, the fact is it is reasonable to say that they shown more ability in previous fixtures, and I still having watched the game again believe that there are better options in the centre it wasn’t that long ago that Jones for one was being hailed as the Messiah.

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  2. Absolutely with George Haley….centres offered nothing in attack not even ability to catch and pass…and defensively both slipped off tackles with Watson and particularly Ritchie having to rescue them. It’s great we ground out an away win and especially away from home but the service from Price was appalling to point where even the laid back Finn was screaming for quick ball. We need to get Horne n SHC in there giving Ten best possible service and frankly anyone other than Lang n Harries at centre….they kill any potential attack and don’t offer much in terms of dominant defence. If Bennett Scott Hutchinson etc had played as poorly as the afore mentioned two had for club or country against such poor opposition as Georgia n Wales I’d get them being ostracized….but they have consistently performed superbly for club n country. Fourth place is frankly a poor return for players we have available and how turgid teams like Ireland n Wales n even English for who they have available are.

  3. Well a difficult win under the circumstances of the weather and the undoubted pressure of expectation, but we have played better and lost in the past, if you get my drift.
    Speaking of the conditions why on earth did we throw long just prior to the Welsh try? Did we learn nothing from the Australian game?
    The forwards put on a good shift both the starting players and those off the bench, as for the backs in many respects it wasn’t the day for them to shine, rain and wind being a limiting factor. However I hope it doesn’t appear over-negative but honestly I have yet to understand the selection of Harris and Lang, I’ve seen little of Lang and the most memorable aspect of Harris has been knocking-on potentially scoring passes on more than one occasion.
    Is a comeback on the cards for Duncan Weir, or will Hastings get away with Physiotherapy rather than an operation, as for Russell injury’s it would appear to be in an area that is difficult to isolate, that can take an age to repair, best of luck to both of them and whoever takes the Jersey in the mean time.

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  4. The conditions, particularly the capricious wind, demanded a relatively cautious approach. Scotland generally managed the game well, avoiding the expensive mistakes that so often have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory — and compared to the turgid England-Italy game which followed (Los Ponderosos), this was a good spectacle.

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  5. Great win. Pick were fantastic to man. Cummings is vastly the better option alongside Gray. Backs however were pedestrian albeit in tough conditions. Kinghorn really does not like to pass does he? Price D is very good and his box kicks but his distribution is slow. Hastings decision making is average. Graham should not play in bad weather, The new SA recruits from bench were both highly impactful – welcome to Scotland lads.

  6. I thought the forwards were awesome Hastings did really well and Price was good at controlling the game. The rest of the backs were hardly involved. Considering until he went off we had 2 of the best backs in World Rugby in Russell and Hogg there was no spark. I put that down to the centres who were very ordinary.

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    • In reply to Rod – I’d agree that both centre berths are potentially up for grabs, but Harris has brought some much needed grit to the midfield and that seems to be infectious. He’s set the bar and if Bennett, Jones or Hutchison want that 13 shirt they’ll need to defend and organise at least as well as him.

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  7. Think Duncan Weir is obvious choice .. Lang still to look convincing at 12 let alone 10 TBH . Great to Win in Wales Under any circumstances !

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