Sat. May 30th, 2020

Rugby World Cup 2019: Scotland and Ireland hit by injuries

The build up to the Rugby World Cup for Six Nations and Pool A rivals Ireland and Scotland has been far from ideal with several injuries on both sides.

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Scotland’s Jamie Ritchie will miss the opening match of the Rugby World Cup through injury while Ireland could be without Robbie Henshaw.

Flanker Ritchie will miss his side’s opening Rugby World Cup 2019 match against Ireland on Sunday 22 September after sustaining a broken cheekbone in their final warm-up test against Georgia.

The Ireland centre, Henshaw, is likely to miss the opening Pool A match in Yokohama after he sustained a hamstring injury in training.

Ritchie to return in Rugby World Cup match against Samoa

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said Ritchie is expected to resume training next week. Scotland hope he will be available for their second pool game against Samoa on 30 September.

“Jamie’s still recovering from the operation and also jet lag, so he’s not training with us just yet,” he said.

“It’s quite a regular surgery for players who suffer that type of injury and we believe that two-to-three-week turnaround can be done pretty easily.

“We know some players can come back in less time than that but we’re going to aim for the Samoa game rather than Ireland.”

Magnus Bradbury flew out to Japan as cover for Ritchie but may not train with the squad under Rugby World Cup rules.

Henshaw’s World Cup in the balance

The full extent of Henshaw’s injury will not be known until after a scan according Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt.

“Robbie pulled up with a bit of tightness in his hamstring,” Schmidt said at a press conference at the team hotel in Chiba on Sunday.

“When he pulled up he wasn’t accelerating. We’d be hopeful it is not going be too bad.

“It is likely to rule him out of this week? Yeah, you would have to say it is likely.”

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Rugby World Cup Squad: Robbie Henshaw of Ireland is tackled by Ben Youngs of England during the Guinness Six Nations between Ireland and England at Aviva Stadium on February 2, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Hensaw’s outside centre position is likely to be contested by his Leinster teammate Garry Ringrose and Chris Farrell of Munster.

Utility player Will Addison was withdrawn from Ulster’s starting line-up for Saturday’s pre-season friendly in Glasgow. Schmidt said this was a precautionary measure with Addison on standby to join the squad if Henshaw is ruled out.

Rugby World Cup rules stipulate that a replacement player may not play within 48 hours of being added to a squad.

Scotland’s hard knocks

Scorland might regret their choice of final warm-up opponent as the hardmen of Georgia left them with plenty of bumps and bruises.

Fullback Blair Kinghorn and lock Ben Toolis copped knocks to the head, number eight Blade Thomson and another lock Jonny Gray limped off with hamstring complaints, while prop Allan Dell later reported a hamstring twinge of his own.

“The pleasing thing is everybody is still in the squad, which is a huge boost,” Townsend added.

“We had four players who went to hospital that evening and two who had to be removed because of head injuries. But all of them are available to play in the World Cup.”

Good news for Ireland

Ireland received a fitness boost ahead of the Rugby World Cup with the news that flyhalf Joey Carberry has returned to training while Keith Earls is expected to rejoin sessions this week.

“Joey trained well on Saturday and he’s due to train fully with the team on Monday,” Schmidt said, adding that he is likely to select his team to face Scotland on Wednesday.

In the last meeting between the Six Nations rivals Ireland ran out 22-13 winners at Murrayfield.

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