Scotland have suffered a major blow ahead of the upcoming RBS Six Nations with tighthead prop WP Nel being ruled out of the tournament with a neck injury.
He suffered the injury during his comeback against Harlequins
The 30 year old prop was named in Vern Cotter’s Six Nations squad on Wednesday, but a scan has revealed that he has damaged an intervertebral disc in his neck during a Challenge Cup matchup against Harlequins.
It is not yet clear whether Nel will require corrective surgery, but he injury will keep him out for the duration of the tournament and also casts major doubt on his chances of being selected for the British and Irish Lions in the summer.
The South African born prop had only just returned from an injury layoff that kept him out of the Autumn international series before going off just half an hour into his comeback.
Nel has been Coach Cotter’s first choice, so losing the Edinburgh man be a major setback going into a gruelling series of games against the northern hemisphere’s finest. This has been exacerbated by the loss of Nel’s front row partner Al Dickinson.
A lot now rests on the broad shoulders of Fagerson
Twenty Year old Warrior Zander Fagerson has been an able replacement in his stead, but Scotland are significantly weaker without Nel and are perilously low in depth. Uncapped Simon Berghan has been drafted in as cover for Nel, with Jon Welsh brought back in place of Dickinson on the other side.