Cotter pulls flanker and calls up Cowan

The Herald - Sport - - FRONT PAGE -

BLAIR COWAN has been called up to the Scot­land squad as a re­place­ment for Grant Gilchrist, who was ruled out of the Rugby World Cup with a groin in­jury.

The open­side flanker met up with his team-mates at their New­cas­tle base yesterday morn­ing, hav­ing been told the night be­fore by head coach Vern Cotter that he was be­ing called up.

“It was a bit of a shock,” said Cowan, who had been train­ing with his club, Lon­don Ir­ish, for their game on Fri­day against Har­lequins. “I had to tie up a few things with the club – I was sup­posed to play this Fri­day.”

The with­drawal of Gilchrist, an­nounced on Mon­day, leaves three locks – Richie and Jonny Gray and Tim Swin­son – com­pet­ing for the two places against South Africa.

The se­lec­tion of John Hardie as the only spe­cial­ist open­side was the most con­tro­ver­sial el­e­ment of the orig­i­nal squad, and that risk was made clear at the week­end, when Hardie was ruled out of the USA match af­ter fail­ing a head-in­jury test ad­min­is­tered af­ter he took a knock against Ja­pan.

Hardie has yet to pass that test and is still a doubt for the South Africa game.

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