Ford's absence provides opportunity for other Scotland hookers to showcase talent - Mike Blair

 

Scotland skills coach Mike Blair believes the loss of Ross Ford due to injury will present an opportunity for the replacement hookers to showcase their talent in the upcoming autumn internationals.

Ford, who is the most capped player for the Dark Blues sustained a pectoral injury during training last week and will be sidelined for four months after undergoing a surgery.

With Fraser Brown also unavailable, Edinburgh trio of Neil Cochrane, Magnus Bradbury and Rory Sutherland were added to the squad on Monday.

Blair, who retired from playing last year admitted that Ford's absence will be a blow to Scotland but is also confident that the other players can step in and take up the responsibility.

"It is obviously a big blow but across club rugby and international rugby a lot of teams are getting a lot of injuries. Part of the system is that we have guys coming in ready to take their place when they are injured," he said.

"Ross had a very good summer tour, I thought he reinvented himself a bit there - lots of power and support play, and he really led there - but this will give other players an opportunity.

"Stuart McInally, in particular, has had a fantastic start to the season with Edinburgh with his leadership role and George Turner has been a revelation with Glasgow."

Bradbury had a real turn of events as he was stripped of Edinburgh captaincy following an off-field incident and was also left out of the Scotland's original squad. The 22-year-old was also sidelined with a head injury but marked his return with a try against Ospreys that helped Edinburgh claim a bonus point win in their Pro 14 clash.

"It is brilliant to see Magnus doing that," said former Scotland scrum-half Blair. "I am sure it was a difficult time for him but he has shown the best way to react to that is rolling up your sleeves, getting on with your game and securing that bonus-point win against Ospreys.

"We got to know Magnus a fair bit on the summer tour, he obviously played in the Italy game at the start and he is a big, abrasive young guy.

"He is a new breed of back-row forwards coming through and I am looking forward to see what he can do in camp."

With Edinburgh and Glasgow enjoying success in the domestic competition, Blair feels the players are upbeat about their chances in the upcoming November Tests.

"I don't know if it is a record but every person in the squad of 38 who were playing at the weekend won," he said. "You are not often seeing that. So that brings with it a lot of confidence.

"Edinburgh have five wins on the trot, Glasgow are eight from eight in the PRO14, although obviously had a couple of not so good results in Europe.

"There is lots of confidence across all the players and that has to be good for us going forward."

 

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