Monday 20 November 2017

Injury crisis sees Scotland face 'mission impossible'

Scotland's injury jinx shows no sign of easing as they embark on 'mission impossible' against South Africa today.

The latest casualty is hooker Steve Lawrie (back), opening the way for Fraser Brown to potentially win a cap off the bench, despite having played only 44 minutes of professional rugby.

Scotland's interim head coach Scott Johnson admitted that they will try to get starting hooker Scott Lawson to play 80 minutes, but if Brown does get on it would be a remarkable turnaround for the former U-20 captain, whose career looked over two years ago when he was axed from the Edinburgh academy at 22 after a neck operation.

He has managed to get his career back on track and has just signed a full-time contract with Glasgow but is probably no higher than seventh choice in his position for Scotland and yet could win his first cap.

"He is an impressive kid," said Johnson. "It is a big ask (but) we have to find out about him. If he gets out there it is not ideal but a lot of good will come out of this."

Euan Murray, the tighthead prop, is also struggling to overcome a hamstring problem.

Meanwhile, Joe Launchbury is determined to sign off on a remarkable season in style as England hunt a 2-0 Test series win against Argentina. This time last year, Launchbury was training on his own at Wasps, recovering from the knee injury which had forced him home just days into England's tour of South Africa. Fast forward 12 months and the Wasps lock is England's player of the year.

"People may think we are winding down but we are not at all," he said. "It is a massive challenge for us and we want to be the first England team to come out here and win a Test series with a clean sweep."

South Africa v Scotland,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 4.15

Argentina v England,

Live, BBC2, 8.10

Irish Independent

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