Fagerson to miss Autumn Tests as Bennett’s injury woes worsen

Glasgow also announce Stuart Hogg is returning to Scotland rather than staying with the squad

Zander Fagerson lies injured during Glasgow's game against the Cheetahs.
Zander Fagerson lies injured during Glasgow's game against the Cheetahs. Image: Fotosport/Frikkie Kapp.

ZANDER Fagerson appears certain to miss Scotland’s Autumn Internationals after needing surgery on his lower-leg injury, while Mark Bennett’s spell on the sidelines is now expected to stretch into the Six Nations Championship after he too had to go under the knife. With Duncan Taylor having already been ruled out of action for the season and a large chunk of rugby still to be played before the November Tests come around, Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has a growing number of problems to ponder as he thinks about the composition of his squad for the games against Wales, Fiji, Argentina and South Africa.

Fagerson was taken to hospital on Saturday night after sustaining the leg damage in Glasgow’s convincing win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. The Warriors announced yesterday that the forward had been operated on, but at this stage are unable to give a precise forecast on the duration of his recovery programme.

“Zander Fagerson has successfully undergone surgery in Bloemfontein on an ankle injury he sustained in Glasgow Warriors’ victory over Toyota Cheetahs on Saturday,” a statement from the team said. “The tighthead prop will travel to Cape Town in the next few days and return home to Scotland with his team-mates next weekend, where he will receive further assessment. A more accurate assessment of the injury and an estimated recovery period for the 22-year-old will be provided in due course.”

Glasgow also announced that Stuart Hogg is returning to Scotland rather than staying with the squad as they prepare for Saturday’s match against the Southern Kings. The full-back has yet to recover from the ankle injury he sustained against Munster and which kept him out of the win over the Cheetahs. Winger player Robbie Nairn and tighthead Adam Nicol have been added to Dave Rennie’s squad as they seek to extend their record in the PRO14 to four wins from four games.

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Mark Bennett time out

Over at Edinburgh meanwhile, head coach Richard Cockerill revealed that the prognosis for Bennett is less optimistic than was originally expected after the centre ruptured a hamstring against Ulster. A three-to-four-month absence was the prediction then, but yesterday Cockerill put it at five to six months instead.

“Mark Bennett had surgery on Saturday on his hamstring and the upshot of that is he will be out for five to six months,” the coach said. “What are we, January, February, March? Yeah. He will miss the Six Nations as it stands today.”

The coach also revealed that hooker Cameron Fenton will be out for three months after needing surgery on his hip, and that Lewis Carmichael has yet to be given the all-clear to resume playing after taking a head knock in pre-season. The good news for Edinburgh, by contrast, is that some players who have seen little or no action this season are now ready to get involved.

Back in the frame

Chris Dean will come back into the squad, who hasn’t had the opportunity so far, and there will be some natural rotation to look after some of the Scotland players,” Cockerill said when asked about possible alterations for the visit to Leinster on Saturday. “We have some Scotland players that need to come in and play. There will be some changes to the squad, but it will be a strong squad.

“We’re slowly getting there. There’s guys like [Simon] Berghan to start and [Ross] Ford and [Allan] Dell, along with Darryl Marfo, who hasn’t featured this year so far. There’s obviously Vili Mata who didn’t play at the weekend, Obviously John Barclay to come back in and Magnus Bradbury who has just come back to fitness. So there’s some bodies to come back in. Lewis Carmichael as well, there’s some really good young fellas there as well.

Jamie Richie’s played really well the last two games. [Luke] Crosbie’s still to come into the forward pack as well, who’s done really well. So it’s something to build on and it’s part of the evolution of this squad. This squad is not as remodelled as I would like it to be moving forward, but we are 14-15 months into a project.”

Match Officials on the agenda

Cockerill also revealed that he was due to speak to Greg Garner, the PRO14’s head of elite referee development, later yesterday to discuss his views on the performances of match officials in the league. The coach was particularly critical of the referee and his assistants after Edinburgh’s win over Connacht on Friday, and accused the Irish side of cheating, but declined to say if he expected to be disciplined for those comments.

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About Stuart Bathgate 1131 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.