Scotland have announced they were delaying naming their team for Saturday’s game against Ireland amid mounting injury concerns.
Head coach Andy Robinson was due to select his 22-man squad tomorrow but this has been put back to Wednesday to give those recovering from knocks extra time to prove their fitness.
Flanker Kelly Brown is expected to undergo cognitive tests after being forced from the field following a sickening clash of heads with England wing Ugo Monye in Saturday’s Calcutta Cup draw at Murrayfield.
Scotland team doctor James Robson said: “Kelly is now subject to the usual return to play protocols that are in place following such an injury.
“He will be monitored on a daily basis.”
Prop Euan Murray and centre Nick De Luca (both shoulder bruising), wing Max Evans (leg bruising), full-back Hugo Southwell (calf) and stand-off Phil Godman (shoulder joint/chest wall bruising) were also receiving treatment today from physiotherapists Dan Moore and Stephen Mutch.
Presuming Brown is passed fit, team-mate Johnnie Beattie reckons Saturday’s match at Croke Park will be the biggest challenge yet for Glasgow’s ‘Killer Bs’.
The Warriors back row of Beattie, Brown and John Barclay have taken the Six Nations by storm since starting together for the first time in the tournament opener against France.
Barclay and Brown in particular have earned rave reviews but number eight Beattie outshone both flankers on Saturday.
The trio could start their fifth straight match together this weekend but they will come up against an even more vaunted back row in Stephen Ferris, David Wallace and Jamie Heaslip in what is set to be the last ever rugby union match at Croke Park – the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association.
Beattie, who will earn his 12th cap and first against Ireland this weekend, said: “It’s been huge for me to be given a chance to play and take part in this championship.
“I was nervous before it and you never know how it’s going to go.
“Myself, Kelly and John are pleased with the way things are going and we just want it to continue as long as we can and keep giving everything to it.
“We know that, next week, the Irish back row’s up there probably with the best in the world so it’s another massive challenge if we get given the chance.”
Beattie went into Saturday’s match with England with a point to prove having been hauled off shortly after half-time in the miserable defeat in Italy two weeks earlier.
He could hardly have responded better, a dynamic display in both defence and attack earning the 24-year-old the man-of-the-match award.
But he has revealed he was hobbling by the end of what had been a real war of attrition at Murrayfield and only stayed on because the substitute back rower had already taken to the field.
“I needed to back myself up and perform well and I felt the first half I managed to do that,” Beattie said.
“Second half, I kind of faded a bit with cramp and just managed to hobble about the pitch.
“Both calves, both hammys (went), and it was only Geoff Cross on the bench.
“They didn’t want to bring on a prop for a back rower so they just told me to turn around and get on with it.”
Despite once again failing to turn a dominant performance into a victory, Beattie believes there are plenty of positives to take into the Ireland game as Scotland seek the victory that would spare them the wooden spoon.
“I thought our defence was better,” he said.
“We’ve been broken on the fringes of our defence out wide by being too tight.”
Yet, it is in attack where Scotland’s real problems lie, with the white-line fever that has gripped them for years still very much in evidence.
“It’s the next couple of phases after the line break that you’re going to score your tries,” Beattie acknowledged.
“If we can keep ball a little bit better and engineer a couple more things, we’ll be more dangerous.”
Saturday’s performance means Robinson is unlikely to make many unenforced changes to his starting XV for the trip to Dublin.
However, it seems certain Nathan Hines will be recalled at second row after Jim Hamilton criminally gave away crucial penalties against England.
Hooker Scott Lawson may also lose his place on the bench following another ill-disciplined cameo.