Darcy Graham has been ruled out of Scotland’s World Cup warm-up match with Georgia on Saturday after suffering a quad strain.
The 26-year-old Edinburgh wing was named in the starting XV on Thursday but on Friday it was announced that his place in the team had been taken by Kyle Steyn.
Scottish Rugby described the injury being nursed by Graham – Scotland’s sixth-highest try-scorer of all time – as “mild”. His absence on Saturday means he will fly to France for the World Cup next weekend having played only two matches for his country this calendar year after returning from a long-term knee injury at the end of last season.
Graham’s Edinburgh colleague Sam Skinner knows all about the perils of pre-tournament fitness issues after a hamstring injury sustained in a warm-up match against France ruled him out of the World Cup in Japan four years ago.
Despite that setback in 2019, the 28-year-old lock is adamant he will not be taking it easy against Georgia on Saturday, just a week before the Scots fly to France to prepare for their opening pool match against South Africa in Marseille on September 10.
“I’ve been touching lots of wood and hoping it will be fine,” Skinner said when asked about the spectre of another untimely injury. “You’ve just got to go flat out and hope it will be fine.
“It’s a Test match, an opportunity to represent your country and give it everything you’ve got. That’s all I will be thinking about.
“Obviously it’s a contact sport and there are risks but you can’t afford to think like that. You’ve just got to go flat out, play for your country and hope you come out the other side.
“It’s important we get minutes under the belt and come into that South Africa game as well prepared as we can be. That’s the priority.
“It’s a brutal sport at times, and that’s the price that people pay sometimes, but it’s the right thing for us all to be playing and to be giving it a good go.”
After fellow second-rower Jonny Gray suffered a dislocated kneecap at the end of last season, Skinner looked certain to be in Gregor Townsend’s final 33-man squad for France.
Nonetheless, he was taking nothing for granted until he got the confirmation at the start of last week.
“I didn’t feel safe at all,” he said with regard to squad selection.
“We’ve got a really competitive squad which is great, and especially after the last World Cup campaign, I wasn’t taking anything for granted.
“I’m chuffed to bits, really, really proud and I can’t wait.
“I was probably hoping to be involved a little bit more because of what happened four years ago.
“Being told I was in the squad probably felt that little bit more special because I had felt that disappointment last time around.”