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Murray a concern for Scotland

An injury scare involving Euan Murray brought a late change of plan from Scotland's team management as they prepare to select their team to face South Africa on Sunday.

The medical staff and coaches had been confident that the tighthead prop was recovering well from a hamstring injury he suffered against Samoa last weekend and had not intended to bring out any more players as cover.

However, when he pulled up in training complaining that the muscle still did not feel right, head coach Scott Johnson and the rest of his team decided they needed more cover after all. As a result, Gordon Reid, the Glasgow prop who came close to a cap last year when he was on the replacements bench against Tonga but did not get called onto the field, received a phone call telling him he had one-and-a-half hours to pack his bags and get his flight.

"A few things got missed in the rush," he admitted as he arrived in the team hotel near Nelspruit in South Africa on Wednesday afternoon. I don't want an easy cap. I want to earn my place in the squad. I don't want it just to be given to me. It's every kid's dream. You want to play at the highest standard. Ever since I was a wee boy I have wanted to play for my country."

Although hooker Fraser Brown arrived on the same flight, he had had a little more notice. Brown was put on stand-by on Sunday while hard at work on his father's farm and finally got the call to travel late on Monday, with the flight on Tuesday.

After recovering from an operation to fuse bones in his neck, he is just delighted to be with the squad and to experience international training and the Test environment having managed only four appearances as a replacement in his short professional career.

Team manager Gavin Scott explained an incident at training prompted the flights.

He said: "Euan [Murray] had an individual session yesterday afternoon. He had responded well to treatment, but when he ran at about 70 per cent effort, he felt something wrong so he is clearly still affected by the injury.

"That meant we had to bring Gordon [Reid] out. It [Reid's presence] is precautionary for the moment, but that might change. We had to make sure that we could make other arrangements if the problem continued."

Elsewhere injury-wise, things are looking up. Hooker Steve Lawrie is still improving daily and should be fit to play while fly-half Tom Heathcote and centre Alex Dunbar have both come through their concussion tests without problem - the final one is on Thursday.


From Belfast Telegraph