Edinburgh Rugby: Substance over style will do for coach Cockerill against Cardiff

Richard Cockerill has seen his side remain top of the Pro14 Conference B, despite key players being on Scotland duty (Credit: Edinburgh Rugby Twitter)

A win for Edinburgh Rugby this evening will ensure they stay top of the Pro14’s Conference B table.

Welsh team Cardiff Blues travel to BT Murrayfield for Edinburgh’s third game in three weekends, and head coach Richard Cockerill has stated that he is not too concerned about flare in the encounter.

“I’m not fussy about our style,” Cockerill said. “Substance, physicality and mentality should be ten out of ten for us, and we should go out with confidence to make sure we get our performance right.”

Both sides come into the game on the back of a win, with each side scoring five tries last weekend – Edinburgh against Connacht and Cardiff Blues against Benetton.

“They’re a half-decent side – they’ve got good players. They’re missing a few players but crikey, so are we,” Cockerill explained. “We should be well motivated since we’re on a good run, so we need to make sure we get all the basic things right.

“It’s the same as the last two weeks; the weather will be a little bit better, but we need to be really functional and practical in how we play. We just need to go and win the game; do whatever it takes to win.”

Edinburgh fly-half Simon Hickey says that the team’s defence coach, Callum McCrae, has ensured his side know what they are up against: “They are an expansive team and have the ability to shift it, get it to the edges and cause trouble that way. They’ve got some good set-piece strikes and also some good individual players.”

Hickey’s teammate, back-row Nick Haining, expressed how impressive an achievement it would be were Edinburgh to take five points from the current run of three games during the international window of the Guinness Six Nations.

“I think it’s a testament to everyone in the squad and the depth that we have to have got those results so far. It wasn’t an easy game at Scarlets, but we ground out the win, then we had a good performance against Connacht at the weekend.”

“We’re confident going into Cardiff, and we think we can really take maximum points from that and not give them anything. They’ll be a good side, but we’re in good form at the moment and we’re confident.”

Scrum-half Charlie Shiel will be handed his first Murrayfield start tonight, partnering George Taylor and James Johnstone in a new-look centre for Edinburgh.

They also welcome back Grant Gilchrist and Jamie Bhatti after Scotland duty, as part of five changes to the team from last weekend’s bonus point win against Connacht.

Scotland Under-20s players relishing the opportunity to play England in front of Myreside crowd in mini Six Nations clash

 

Scotland Under-20 head coach, Sean Lineen, has made two changes to the starting 15 ahead of this evening’s clash against England at Myreside.

Loose-head prop Thomas Lambert comes in for Alex Maxwell, while tight-head prop Mak Wilson takes the spot of Dan Gamble.

The Scots go into the fixture off the back of a tough 38-26 loss to reigning champions Ireland in Dublin last weekend, while their counterparts arrive in Edinburgh sitting second in the table following a 29-24 away victory over France.

“They’re very physical, powerful players, and they play at a very high standard,” Scotland starting hooker Ewan Ashman said of the English opposition.

“They’ve got a lot of Gallagher Premiership players in their squad. So it’s going to be very physical up front, and the boys are going to really have to stick together on this one.”

Ashman, who was the top try scorer in last year’s Under-20 World Championships, comes into this campaign as one of the leadership figures in the squad.

His role sees him pair new captain Rory Darge in leading the forward pack.

Darge concurred with his teammate in his estimations of the England side, telling EN4 News: “They’re big, big players and a lot of them play at a really high level, so they’ll understand what it takes to win games.

“They’ll come at us with a lot of physicality and power. The challenge for us is just to match that as best we can and get into them.”

The Scotland boys will have their foothold in the match boosted by the fact that the encounter will be taking place at George Watson’s Myreside stadium, a ground known for the close atmosphere it can create.

“It’s a really good atmosphere at Myreside, the stand is almost on top of you, so if there is a good crowd there then that’ll be awesome,” Darge said.

Scotland need a win to keep their slim hopes of a title win alive, while stopping rivals England from retaining their Calcutta Cup crown.

Haining to make Scotland debut in Six Nations opener

Nick Haining will make his Scotland debut this weekend as head coach Gregor Townsend has named the back row in his side to face Ireland in Dublin.

The Australian-born forward made the switch to Scotland in the summer, signing for Pro14 side Edinburgh, who sit top of the conference B table.

Townsend hopes Haining and the rest of his teammates will be a “nightmare” for Andy Farrell’s Ireland side to deal with. “Our goal is always to play to our potential,” he said on naming a heavily restructured Scotland side for this year’s first Six Nations encounter.

“The challenge to do this starts on Saturday against Ireland.”

Scotland have not won on Irish soil for ten years, while Ireland have been crowned Six Nations champions three times in that period, winning back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015, before triumphing again in 2018.

“We must be a relentless collective on the pitch and a nightmare for the Irish to deal with while having the ability and awareness to impose our game at that intensity,” Townsend added.

“As coaches, we put frameworks together and create an environment for them to thrive and reach their potential, but ultimately it’s the players who go out and deliver.”

The aforementioned collective features an evenly split pack – with four forwards from both Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh – whilst Blair Kinghorn is the lone Edinburgh figure in a backline that features two exiles in Saracens’ Sean Maitland and Exeter’s Stuart Hogg.

Full-back Hogg, who was recently promoted to the Scotland captaincy after Greig Laidlaw and John Barclay’s retirement, will have a fight on his hands for the referee’s ear from Irish captain and Hogg’s former Lions teammate Jonny Sexton.

Townsend is taking charge of his third Six Nations as Scotland boss (Credit: EN4News)

Most of the game management is expected to come from the Glasgow half-back pairing of Ali Price and Adam Hastings. They are in charge of a backline which sees Sam Johnson and Huw Jones restored to the starting centre partnership.

Elsewhere, Rory Sutherland returns to the Scotland fold for the first time since 2016, while Cornell du Preez could make a much-anticipated international return off the bench following a gruesome larynx injury he sustained in 2018.

While the back row is more than capable – with an all-Edinburgh line-up of Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson on the flanks, and Haining bringing things together in the eight jersey – the bench suffers from Magnus Bradbury’s omission due to a thigh strain.

Exclusive: Russell dismissal from Scotland camp a ‘devastating blow’, former captain Lawson says

Russell will not line-up with the Scotland team against Ireland. (Credit: EN4 News)

Former Scotland captain Rory Lawson has told EN4 News that Finn Russell’s dismissal from Scotland’s Six Nations training camp is a “devastating blow” ahead of the tournament.

Russell’s dismissal, which emerged on Thursday afternoon, has only been referred to in a short statement by the SRU in which they stated Russell had been “disciplined for a breach of team protocol during the week’s camp in Edinburgh.”

Lawson spoke about how the situation will have affected the 37 men who remain in the Scotland training camp.

“I think it’s a devastating blow,” Lawson told EN4 News. “Without knowing the ins and outs of, firstly what has happened, and secondly how it’s been dealt with, I think it’s a big challenge not only for Gregor Townsend and his coaching team but also the leadership team within the Scotland team.

“You think about Stuart Hogg – it’s his first week as Scotland captain with the rest of the squad and something like this gets thrown into the equation. It’s difficult. He doesn’t have the likes of Greig Laidlaw to lean on, who would have been one of the leaders in that decision making group previously. So, it’s stress that this Scotland squad could really do without.”

Lawson went on to discuss the issues that this situation could throw up in terms of match day team selection. The former player believes that whilst Russell is a big loss, this situation could test the depth of Townsend’s squad.

“I think, equally, the strength of any team, or any nation going in to the Six Nations, comes from the depth as well. Injuries and potential loss of players through anything to do with discipline, come within the tournament.

“It’s a blow that Scotland could ill-afford coming in to the competition. Yes Adam Hastings is in a good position, and yes there are other guys who could take that number 10 spot that are on the bench – but it’s undoubtedly a drop off in quality operators.”

Also speaking exclusively to EN4 News, fellow fly-half and former Scotland captain John Rutherford discussed his views on what has possibly gone on behind the scenes in the Scotland camp.

“It’s very difficult,” Rutherford said. “I’m now just like you, in that you’re picking up what journalists are saying or what’s going out on twitter. It sounds to me like he’s probably stepped over the line on drinking protocol. And that he’s not turned up for training.
“I think that has probably pushed Gregor [Townsend] into making the decision to discipline him for that first game.”

Rutherford acknowledged that, as of now, the details surrounding the situation and exactly what Russell’s actions have been, remain relatively unknown.

“We’re all guessing what happened. It will come out. I would have thought that over the weekend, some players will probably have spoken to friends and it will have gotten out. It’s really unfortunate – but hey, it happens all the time, in sport and business.”

What does Finn Russell’s ousting mean for Scotland’s fly-half options?

Following Thursday’s announcement that Finn Russell has been dismissed from Scotland’s preparations for their Guinness Six Nations opener against Ireland, questions have been raised about Gregor Townsend’s back-up fly-half options.

Within the remaining 37 men selected in Townsend’s squad, there are three players capable of filling the position in Russell’s absence.

Glasgow Warriors’ Adam Hastings is seen as the first choice, as half-back is his favoured position anyway, while Northampton centre Rory Hutchinson can switch to the 10 slot, as can Edinburgh’s fullback Blair Kinghorn.

Russell was expected by most to be called upon to fill the Scotland 10 jersey throughout the tournament, as his recent form with Racing 92 in the French Top 14 has been outstanding.

However, the short statement released by the SRU on Thursday stated that Russell had been instructed to return to his club “having been disciplined for a breach of team protocol during the week’s camp in Edinburgh”.

This means Russell will not travel with the team to their training camp in Portugal – due to take place at the beginning of next week – and will also miss their campaign opener against Ireland in Dublin.

It is not yet known if he will be allowed to participate in Scotland’s other four games – against England and France at home, and Italy and Wales away – but in the meantime, focus will most likely turn to Hastings, Hutchinson or Kinghorn.

Here, we take a look at what each player brings to the position:

Adam Hastings

Hastings is the most likely choice to claim Scotland’s 10 jersey following Russell’s dismissal. He fields the position week-in, week-out in the Pro14 and Champions Cup for the Glasgow Warriors and has created a tight partnership with fellow Warrior, scrum-half George Horne.

Hastings is a lover of the fast, flare-based game that Glasgow have adopted of late, but he is also more than capable at the basics, successfully kicking his 100th conversion in Glasgow’s Champions Cup meeting with Exeter at the beginning of the month. Considering this, and his partnership with Horne, Hastings will likely be fielded in the starting 15.

 

Rory Hutchinson

Hutchinson is regularly used as a centre – for both his club Northampton and in his few international caps to date – but he is also a more than capable fly-half. In 2019, Hutchinson was the top-ranking Premiership centre for clean breaks with 20, metres gained (654) and try assists (6), so he will likely look to bring a more expansive style to the game should he be dropped in at 10.

Hutchinson has not enjoyed much time at fly-half with his club due to Northampton’s ranks including Welsh 10 Dan Biggar. However, he was a standout player in the position at age-grade level for Scotland, and Townsend expressed the thinking when he named his squad that Hutchinson’s inclusion would give him both a centre and fly-half option in one.

 

Blair Kinghorn

Kinghorn is Townsend’s third valid option for filling the position while Russell is dismissed. The youngster usually finds himself in the fullback position, but he did play some of his age-grade rugby at half-back. Kinghorn charted the third-most metres made in last year’s Six Nations with 323 and has been a key figure in Edinburgh’s backline for the past couple of seasons.

His favoured jersey is 15, but following Richard Cockerill’s arrival at Edinburgh, Kinghorn has matured into a confident enough player that he could cover well at 10, as long as he has a confident nine inside of him.

 

Edinburgh Rugby face crunch time as Six Nations approaches

Edinburgh Rugby are currently in the midst of a short, hard-earned break in their 2019/20 season. Here, Erin McRitchie takes some time to look at what is coming up in the remainder of the season for Richard Cockerill’s squad.

(Credit: EN4 News)

The loss of internationalists

With the Guinness Six Nations fast approaching, Richard Cockerill has had to wave goodbye to 16 of his Edinburgh players as they head off on international duty with Scotland, and one – Pietro Ceccarelli – with Italy.

Of all those called upon, 13 are forwards and four are from the backline, so the impact of the internationals will be felt the hardest in the forward pack.

Cockerill will really have to put a lot of faith in the depth of his squad in the scrum in the next month or so.

However, this could produce many positives, as it is in times like the Six Nations period that young players can step up and utilise all of the opportunities afforded to them throughout the competition’s run.

The Pro14

Edinburgh have three crucial games during the Six Nations, as they face Scarlets away before back-to-back fixtures at BT Murrayfield, against Connacht and Cardiff Blues.

In terms of the Conference B table, Edinburgh head into the break in pole position on 34 points, whilst their first competitors after the break – Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets – are just three points behind them in second place.

Scarlets will most likely have a clear purpose in mind when Cockerill’s men arrive in Llanelli and will be boosted by the re-signing of back Steff Evans, as well as the fact they have won all but one of their home fixtures this season.

Following that tussle between first and second place, the Scottish club will welcome Irish outfit Connacht to BT Murrayfield, who reside in fourth position, before Welshmen Cardiff Blues, currently sitting fifth, arrive in the Scottish capital just a week later.

Connacht will arrive in Edinburgh with their attention solely on pushing ahead in their Pro14 campaign having missed out on the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup through a narrow 35-29 defeat to Montpellier at the weekend.

And finally, Cardiff Blues make a trip to Edinburgh having fallen 19-11 at home to Cockerill’s team in October.

The Challenge Cup

By defeating Agen 36-0 at BT Murrayfield last weekend, Edinburgh earned their place in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup.

Going into the play-off stage in sixth place means that Edinburgh will face fellow pool 3 team, Bordeaux, for their chance to advance to the semi-finals of the European competition.

Thankfully for Cockerill and his team, they will not face this challenge until after the culmination of the Six Nations, as the quarter-finals take place on the weekend of April 3.

Hearts name Steven Naismith as new club captain

Heart of Midlothian manager Daniel Stendel has announced Steven Naismith as the new club captain.

The Scotland striker joined Hearts on loan from Norwich City in January 2018 before committing his long-term future to the club in the summer of 2019. He will take the armband from axed skipper Christophe Berra, who was told by the manager that he is free to find a new club.

Naismith has scored 16 goals in 41 league appearances for Hearts. He has proven to be a talisman for the Gorgie side time and again, especially in last season’s run to the Scottish Cup final. His run as captain will begin with a home tie in the cup against Airdrieonians on Saturday.

The three other candidates for the captaincy were Craig Halkett, John Souttar and Michael Smith, but Stendel has ultimately opted for the experience of Naismith to try and get Hearts back on track this season.

Despite missing out on the captaincy, Stendel made the decision to maintain John Souttar as club vice-captain.

Next week, when the league restarts following the winter break, the new skipper will be trying to chase down the five-point gap that has Hearts sitting adrift at the bottom of the table.

Edinburgh rotate starting team for Agen ahead of final Challenge Cup pool match

Saturday marks the final pool stage match of Edinburgh’s 2019/20 Challenge Cup campaign as they face Agen at BT Murrayfield, with a win putting them through to the competition’s quarter final stage.

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill has named a side full of changes to face Agen at BT Murrayfield in the final pool stage of the Challenge Cup this Saturday.

The side, in total, includes seven forward changes – with only Hamish Watson reclaiming the position he fielded against Bordeaux last weekend – and just one back change as George Taylor comes in for the internationally selected Matt Scott.

Charlie Shiel and James Johnstone fall out of the squad as Henry Pyrgos and Chris Dean take their places respectively – with the latter making his first appearance of the regular season having torn his pectoral in a pre-season friendly against Ospreys.

The all change scrum line-up sees Pierre Schoeman return to the starting line-up to pair WP Nel as the props, with Dave Cherry holding the hooker position between them.

An all Scotland second row of Ben Toolis and Grant Gilchrist is preferred to Sam Thomson and Lewis Carmichael, who started against Bordeaux, but both drop out of the squad this week.

Hamish Watson remains on the openside flank, with Luke Crosbie coming in to the blindside and Nick Haining – one of six uncapped players selected by Scotland’s Gregor Townsend – takes the number eight jersey from Bill Mata.

It’s a relatively unchanged back-line as Darcy Graham and Duhan Van Der Merwe once more occupy the wings, Mark Bennett gets a change in centre partner as George Taylor comes in at 12, Damien Hoyland replaces Blair Kinghorn at fullback and Jaco Van Der Walt once more rules the half-back spot with Nic Groom.

Rory Sutherland and Mike Willemse drop to the bench to join Pietro Ceccarelli. Fraser McKenzie returns from a slightly troublesome neck injury picked up earlier in the season whilst John Barclay once more boosts the bench. And Pyrgos, Hickey and Dean round out the replacements as the backline cover.

Edinburgh must beat Agen to qualify for the next round of the European Challenge Cup (Credit: EN4 News)

Despite a losing performance to Bordeaux Begles away in France last weekend, which left Richard Cockerill’s squad with marginal errors to correct, Edinburgh are this weekend looking to put themselves through to the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup with a win at home.

“We’re going for the bonus point, to qualify and see where that takes us,” Cockerill explained to the media earlier this week. “A win will get us through, and we’ll just see. We’re going to be away from home [in the quarter finals], which is fine. We’ll see where that takes us – wherever we go, we’ll give it our best shot.”

Edinburgh were bested by French Top 14 league leaders in France last weekend, as Bordeaux’s Semi Radradra, Santiago Cordero and Yann Lesgourgues all ran in tries for the frightfully dominant French outfit.

Duhan Van Der Merwe and Mark Bennett aided Edinburgh’s chances on the scoreboard, but Cockerill knows that his side will need to be more clinical in their fixture against Agen – a side which hasn’t taken a single point in the third pool of the European competition.

“We’re starting to mature as a team, and I think we’re mature enough to be able to say that it’s a game that we should win, and it’s a game we should win with four tries and five points. And we’ve got to go out there and lay it on the field and just do it, rather than make it a struggle.”

“So, that’s the challenge for us,” Cockerill elaborated. “It’s a different sort of challenge, and almost in some ways a harder challenge than people thinking you’re going to lose and you surprise people. Well, we should win, I expect us to win, and I expect us to put a proper professional performance out on the field and get the job done.”

The side Cockerill named to travel to Bordeaux saw eight changes from the squad which ran out against Southern Kings in the first match of the new year at BT Murrayfield a week previously.

And the head coach expects to ring some more personnel changes this weekend, “Yeah, there’ll be changes to the team. There’ll be the odd test player we’ll look after, but we’ll be 90% full go.”

Edinburgh will have to become accustomed to having less test players in their ranks as Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend named his Guinness Six Nations wider squad on Wednesday this week, and of the 38 men included, a total 16 – 12 forwards and four backs – were from Cockerill’s Edinburgh ranks.

A further 13 were taken from Glasgow Warriors, meaning only nine of the players called up to international duty play their rugby outside of Scotland with eight based in England and only one – Finn Russell – overseas in France.

Despite international call-ups, Edinburgh boosted their ranks once again this week when they announced that scintillating South African winger Duhan Van Der Merwe had re-signed with the club.

Van Der Merwe, who is still only 24, already has 53 caps and 28 tries on his Edinburgh record – making him the club’s fifth all time try scorer. Thus it was a re-signing that Cockerill is delighted to have completed.

“There are the games where his footwork and his power, plus his pace, have scored tries from nothing. So, having that type of player in your squad is important because sometimes in a game, that’s the difference, you know? Someone that’ll get something from nothing, and suddenly the game sparks into life, or it turns the game in your favour.”

Edinburgh will certainly be hoping Van Der Merwe adds to his try tally to seal the win, and preferably the bonus point, for them against Agen this weekend as they kick off at 3pm on Saturday at BT Murrayfield.

Scotland coach Townsend names six uncapped players in Six Nations squad

Scotland international head coach Gregor Townsend named his wider training squad for the Guinness Six Nations on Wednesday and among the bulk of Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh players, Townsend named six uncapped players to his side.

(Credit: Jamie Braidwood)

Head coach Gregor Townsend named a 38-man training squad on Wednesday as preparations begin for Scotland’s Guinness Six Nations campaign.

A large majority 29 players are provided by Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh – Scotland’s only two professional clubs who compete in the Pro14 competition – with an additional eight currently playing domestically in the English Premiership and a further one in the French Top 14.

The squad announcement also marked the naming of a new Scottish captain, following the retirement of Greig Laidlaw from international duty last month. Townsend elected to appoint Exeter Chief’s Stuart Hogg to the position.

“He really cares about playing for his country, what the jersey represents and also getting the best out of his teammates,” the head coach explained. “He’s a really intelligent rugby player who’s learning and improving with every season. He’s very good at bringing others into the game and building relationships with those around him.”

Hogg will have his leadership abilities first tested with a training camp in Portugal – a camp which Townsend stated only approximately 32 of those named in the wider squad will travel to – before travelling to face Ireland in Dublin for the tournament’s opening encounter.

There will be six players in the wider squad hungry to be involved in the Portugal camp, and ultimately, throughout the prestigious tournament as it progresses.

Of the six uncapped players, three have represented Scotland at Under-20s level, another has represented the country on the 7s circuit, whilst the latter two gain qualification through a grandparent and residential status respectively.

Second-row Alex Craig – who has 12 caps to his Scotland Under-20s CV – had his potential identified through his appearances for Gloucester this season, as Townsend said of his ability: “Every time he’s played, he’s looked more confident. He’s got a real explosive, dynamic quality in his ball-carrying, allied to his huge work-rate and that huge defence.”

Edinburgh’s back-row Luke Crosbie has been applauded by many for his work-rate and responsibility during the test players absence at the Rugby World Cup at the beginning of the season. Townsend sees promise in the athletic forward: “He’s tough, and his tackle percentage is over 90% – I think it’s 94% this season. We like the fact that, when he gets the ball, he’s so athletic that he can really go at the opposition.”

Thomas Gordon is a flanker that burst his way on to the scene at Scotstoun for the Glasgow Warriors last season and has not showed any signs of holding up since. This is a quality the Scotland coaching staff admire in the young player.

“We think we’ve got a potentially exceptional player,” Townsend said. “His man of the match game against Edinburgh at the end of last season, in one of his first starts for Glasgow, showed there was a special player there.”

Nick Haining is a forward who qualifies to represent the thistle through a grandmother from Dundee, and he has proved to be a strong back row contender at Edinburgh this season. Townsend has been taking note of the large Australian’s promise as well: “He has nice skills, good handling and he’s a big man. He has good footwork. He’s a skilful player, a powerful ball-carrier and a good defender. To us as coaches he has the attributes to do well at international level.”

Glasgow Warriors’ backline was boosted by the arrival of Kyle Steyn last year as the South African born player moved to the 15s game from the Scotland 7s circuit. Townsend, having named Steyn in his World Cup squad, knows what the back is capable of.

“He works hard on his game, so things like high-ball catching and contact work, you see the improvements month to month. He’s a really professional player.”

It is Ratu Tagive that closes out the uncapped contingent as he joins his fellow Warriors back Steyn in Townsend’s squad. Despite struggling for game-time at Glasgow the past couple of years, Tagive has taken this season as an opportunity to prove himself.

Townsend added: “Getting into the Glasgow team was a huge step forward when you think of the wingers they have there. He’s a hard-working player who should thrive in the environment with the players he’ll have around him.”

And so, despite notable injury omissions – Matt Fagerson suffered broken ribs, James Lang tore his hamstring, and Sam Skinner has only this week returned to full-time training – and players just missing out – Mark Bennett was one notable centre pipped to the post despite enjoying an on-form season with Edinburgh – Townsend acknowledged that there is still opportunities for fringe players to be brought in to the fold should they return, and be needed, throughout the process of the tournament.

The first test for Townsend’s team will be their opening fixture with Ireland on Saturday Feb. 1 in Dublin, with kick off at 4:45pm.

(Credit: EN4 News)

 

Scotland team:

Forwards: Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Jamie Bhatti (Edinburgh), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh), Fraser Brown (Glasgow), Alex Craig (Gloucester), Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh), Scott Cummings (Glasgow), Allan Dell (London Irish), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Glasgow), Tom Gordon (Glasgow), Nick Haining (Edinburgh), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh), Willem Nel (Edinburgh), Cornell du Preez (Worcester), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh), Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), George Turner (Glasgow), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh).

Backs: Darcy Graham (Edinburgh), Chris Harris (Gloucester), Adam Hastings (Glasgow), Stuart Hogg (Exeter), George Horne (Glasgow), Rory Hutchinson (Northampton), Sam Johnson (Glasgow), Huw Jones (Glasgow), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Byron McGuigan (Sale), Ali Price (Glasgow), Henry Pyrgos (Edinburgh), Finn Russell (Racing 92), Kyle Steyn (Glasgow), Ratu Tagive (Glasgow).

Scotland’s Andy Murray forced to postpone comeback due to ongoing pelvic injury

Andy Murray has announced that his tennis career comeback will have to wait until mid-February at the earliest due to an ongoing pelvic injury, forcing him to miss tournaments in Montpellier and Rotterdam.

The Scot was already forced to miss this month’s Australian Open competition despite managing to play in Davis Cup ties in November 2019.

“I don’t want to rush anything or put a timeline on my recovery,” the two-time Wimbledon champion said of his decision. “I’m going to listen to my body and step back on the court to compete when the time is right.”

Murray has been undergoing continuous rehabilitation following surgery to resurface his hip at the beginning of last year. It was due to that same hip surgery that the Scot missed a whole year of tennis before his surgery.

Murray only returned to singles games in August 2019 having taken the men’s doubles title at Queen’s Club with Feliciano Lopez in June.

The Scot – who was awarded the comeback player of the year win at the 2019 ATP awards – has expressed that the “bone-bruising” he picked up is currently plaguing him for longer than expected, and so, is not aiding any form of speedy recovery.

Murray has stated he will continue to work hard with his team, and in the gym, to ensure he is able to come back to the sport in good form.

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