Scotland flanker Jamie Ritchie set to miss World Cup opener against Ireland

Edinburgh forward had titanium plate fitted after suffering broken cheekbone against Georgia

Scotland flanker Jamie Ritchie is set to miss the World Cup opener against Ireland next Sunday after having a steel plate fitted in his face. Photograph:   Billy Stickland/Inpho

Scotland flanker Jamie Ritchie is set to miss the World Cup opener against Ireland next Sunday after having a steel plate fitted in his face. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

Flanker Jamie Ritchie is set to miss Scotland’s World Cup opener with Ireland but Gregor Townsend admitted he is glad not to be dealing with a more serious casualty list.

Edinburgh forward Ritchie was forced to delay his departure to Japan after suffering a broken cheekbone against Georgia at Murrayfield last week.

He underwent surgery in Edinburgh to have a titanium plate fitted before flying out to meet up with the rest of his team-mates at Scotland’s training camp in Nagasaki.

However, Townsend said the 23-year-old is unlikely to be fit for the showdown with Joe Schmidt’s world number one ranked side next Sunday and earmarked the second Pool A clash with Samoa on September 30th for his return.

Ritchie’s club-mate Magnus Bradbury, who was called up as a precautionary back-up, remains in Japan for now.

Head coach Townsend, speaking at his official opening press conference ahead of the tournament, said: “Jamie had surgery on Monday so he joined us Thursday. He’s still recovering from the operation and also jet lag, so he’s not training with us just yet.

“We expect him to resume training next week. He’s unlikely to be available for the Ireland game but he will be back in full training after that.

“It was a fractured cheekbone that Jamie suffered. He’s got a titanium plate in there now so it’s quite a regular surgery for players who suffer that type of injury.

“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.”

Townsend was left sweating on the fitness of five players after that 36-9 triumph over Georgia in their World Cup send-off.

Ritchie was the most serious concern but there were also worries for Blair Kinghorn and Ben Toolis after both suffered head knocks while forwards Blade Thomson and Jonny Gray limped off with hamstring complaints.

There was further anxiety when prop Allan Dell later reported a hamstring twinge of his own but Townsend admits he is mightily relieved that all of six of his injury doubts are now set to play a part in the tournament.

Townsend – who did lose lock Sam Skinner to a hamstring complaint before naming his 31-man squad – said: “The pleasing thing is everybody is still in the squad, which is a huge boost.

“The last media conference we had [the injuries] were in the front of my mind as we ended up having six injuries against Georgia.

“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. Jamie won’t probably be fit for the first game but the rest are all be available for selection this week.

“That means we’re in the best possible condition to play well.”

Townsend’s team have had to contend with sweltering conditions in Nagasaki, with temperatures in excess of 30 degrees and high humidity levels leaving the players dripping with sweat.

But when they take on Ireland, the forecast is for heavy thunderstorms.

Townsend added: “Nagasaki has been the perfect place for us to get over the jet lag. We’re training in the hottest conditions in Japan right now on an excellent training field.

“Conditions will be different next weekend but we’re used to the wet. We grew up in Scotland after all.

“We were expecting a wet ball either way. If it was going to be hot and humid like it was in Tokyo last week then it would make for slippery conditions.

“But the forecast is saying it will be wet because of the rain so we’ve got to have a game based on putting pressure on Ireland, upsetting their rhythm and making sure our strengths are in play.

“We can adapt that to whether it’s dry or wet.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.