Injury worries mount for Townsend ahead of World Cup

The Scotland head coach saw five players suffer setbacks during the win over Georgia.

By Press Association Published: 6 September 2019 - 10.00pm


Rugby Union

Gregor Townsend was left counting the cost of his side’s six-try victory over Georgia after confirming he has five World Cup injury concerns.

The most serious worries centre around flanker Jamie Ritchie who was taken to hospital after the Dark Blues’ send-off clash at Murrayfield with a deep facial wound.

Lock Ben Toolis and full-back Blair Kinghorn both suffered head knocks that will require concussion checks while Blade Thomson and Jonny Gray – making his first run out of the warm-up series – are also nursing hamstring injuries.

Ben Toolis suffered a head injury against Georgia
Ben Toolis suffered a head injury against Georgia (Graham Stuart/PA)

With his side due to fly out to Japan on Monday and little more than a fortnight to go until their opener with Ireland in Yokohama on September 22, Townsend struggled to hide his angst.

The head coach – who saw Ali Price, Blair Kinghorn, Sam Johnson, Darcy Graham, George Horne and his brother Peter all run in tries as the Lelos were thumped 36-9 – said: “Jamie Ritchie went off with a facial injury.

“He will be going to the hospital tonight to find out the severity of that. That is our most concerning injury as he had to be replaced with a suspected facial injury. We hope it is not anything that will keep him out of the World Cup.

“Two players had to be removed due to concussion. Blair Kinghorn had a cut on the back of his head and had symptoms when he was getting stitched up. He will go through the protocols. Toolis picked up a head injury and was removed from the field of play.

“Blade Thomson felt his hamstring tightening up and his was more precautionary as was Jonny Gray who had just come back from a hamstring injury.

Blair Kinghorn was among Scotland's try scorers against Georgia
Blair Kinghorn was among Scotland’s try scorers against Georgia (Graham Stuart/PA)

“Obviously the concern is if any will miss being on the plane and Jamie is the most cornering and we hope it is good news when he comes back from his hospital visit later tonight. It was more the impact on his face.”

Scotland stuttered during the first half as the powerhouse Georgians got the upper hand at the scrum.

But they upped their tempo after the break and ran out comfortable winners.

Townsend added: “It was not so good in the first half and a disrupted second half. We adapted well and played with a lot of energy in the last 15 minutes. At times we looked good in the first half – we put pace on the ball and got behind the Georgian defence.

“We got a couple of good tries but we didn’t hold on to the ball enough. We gave Georgia possession too easily, sometimes through penalties and ill-discipline, sometimes through not looking after the ball in contact.

“We adapted really well to having to put three different people into the second row in the second half. We scrummed with seven men for the last 10 minutes and did really well. The players got together and found a way to get a comfortable win in the end.”