Scotland forward Stuart McInally will miss the ongoing Rugby World Cup campaign following a neck injury.
McInally, who has played 49 Tests for the Dark Blues was cut from the 33-man squad after being named in the provisional squad. Nevertheless, he was recalled into the World Cup squad following an injury to his Edinburgh team-mate Dave Cherry.
The 33-year-old had already announced that he will be retiring after the World Cup to pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot but now a neck injury sustained in a training session has possibly ended his career without completing his 50th appearance for Scotland.
“Right now he is very emotional,” said Townsend after their win over Tonga.
“He got a presentation in the changing room from the players and [long-time Scotland and Edinburgh teammate] Grant Gilchrist gave him a fantastic speech. It’s a very emotional time for all of us, especially Stuart.
“To get the news on Saturday that he wasn’t going to recover in time from a neck injury he picked up in training is so disappointing for him. We all thought this would be a great way for him to end his career, coming out and getting his 50th cap and contributing to our World Cup career.
“That was something he deserved and had earned given what he had put into that jersey over his career and what he has put in over the last three months.
“It’s just bad luck – it wasn’t even an injury in the session, it was more that at the end of the session he felt pain in his neck. He didn’t recover for two days and we had him scanned on Saturday, to see if there was a bigger issue, which there is.”
Townsend has called up Glasgow’s Johnny Matthews as a replacement for McInally.