Can Scotland cope without Ross Ford?

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 22:39

REACTION: Scotland skills coach Mike Blair says the loss of the country's most-capped player Ross Ford is a major blow.

However, he is confident they have replacement hookers ready to step in for the year-end Tests.

Ford suffered a pectoral injury in training last week and is expected to be out for around four months following surgery.

Glasgow's Fraser Brown is also unavailable for matches against Samoa, New Zealand and Australia, and Neil Cochrane was among three Edinburgh players called up by Scottish boss Gregor Townsend on Monday, along with recently deposed captain Magnus Bradbury and prop Rory Sutherland.

Former Doncaster and Wasps hooker Cochrane could win his first cap at the age of 33 but Townsend has other options following Ford's withdrawal.

"It is obviously a big blow but across club rugby and international rugby a lot of teams are getting a lot of injuries," said Blair. "Part of the system is that we have guys coming in ready to take their place when they are injured.

"Ross had a very good mid-year tour, I thought he reinvented himself a bit there - lots of power and support play, and he really led there - but this will give other players an opportunity.

"Stuart McInally, in particular, has had a fantastic start to the season with Edinburgh with his leadership role and George Turner has been a revelation with Glasgow."

Blair said the squad was in fine fettle, especially with Edinburgh and Glasgow enjoying victories at the weekend.

"I don't know if it is a record but every person in the squad of 38 who were playing at the weekend won," he said. "You are not often seeing that. So that brings with it a lot of confidence."

Scotland play Samoa on Saturday, New Zealand on November 18 and Australia the following weekend.

Agence France-Presse