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Brown ruled out for Scotland


Kelly Brown has been ruled out with an ankle problem

Kelly Brown has been ruled out with an ankle problem

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Kelly Brown has been ruled out with an ankle problem

Scotland's injury crisis took yet another turn for the worse after it was revealed captain Kelly Brown will miss the rest of the tour of South Africa.

Brown had been struggling with the damaged ankle that forced him off at half-time during the defeat by Samoa last weekend, and has now become the third player to leave the party early after tighthead prop Geoff Cross and hooker Pat MacArthur were both struck down with injuries.

Now that flanker Brown too is about to head home, it leaves head coach Scott Johnson not only hunting a new leader but also somebody who can fill the openside slot in his team ahead of Saturday's clash with the Springboks.

Meanwhile, Fraser Brown, who has just signed a contract to join Glasgow next season, will arrive in South Africa on Wednesday as cover for Steve Lawrie, the Edinburgh hooker who made his debut last weekend but is struggling with a niggling back problem.

"It is traditional for all teams to have three hookers," explained team manager Gavin Scott.

"So with Pat leaving there was a reasonable certainty that we would need that coverage. With the short travel time to South Africa we were able to leave it, but with Stevie having a tight back - that is all it is, he could not train yesterday or today but the medics are saying he is a lot better - we had to bring him (Brown) out."

The remaining injuries are giving more cause for hope, with Scott confirming prop Euan Murray is making good progress with his hamstring problem, as is Johnnie Beattie with a damaged shoulder. Both are expected to be available for selection at the weekend.

Tom Heathcote and Alex Dunbar are going through the sequence of tests to check they are not concussed, so far without any sign of trouble.

While Brown's loss is a serious blow, it will almost certainly create the space for David Denton to resume his international career after a disastrous season that started with an ankle injury and finished with him sidelined due to knee trouble.