Scotland have gained special clearance from French authorities to let No8 Josh Strauss take on Les Bleus in Paris on Saturday after he lost his passport.
Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell added his weight to the bid to get Strauss the right to travel to France because the situation was complicated by the fact that the Sale Sharks No8 has a South African passport. The Scottish RU have now confirmed the player can travel.
The 32-year-old forward qualified for Scotland on residency having been born in Bellville in the Western Cape.
He has won 19 caps for Scotland and his loss would have been a major body blow for the squad which has been hit by serious injuries to key players.
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Already out of the game in Paris are Finn Russell, Stuart Hogg, WP Nel, Huw Jones and Ryan Wilson. Strauss played in Scotland’s opening two games of this year’s competition against Italy and Ireland and the bearded No8 has a key role to play against the win-less French who have lost to Wales and England and are attempting to silence growing criticism with a much-needed victory over the Scots.
“We are working with the relevant authorities to secure Josh’s safe passage to Paris,” a Scottish Rugby spokesperson said after the passport loss was reported in the Sun newspaper. The Sun said Strauss was unable to get a replacement document in time for the weekend’s match and quoted a UK Government source saying: “MP David Mundell found out about this and asked the Foreign Office to help. They have been in talks with France today trying to sort this out.”
Townsend’s men are currently third in the championship table, lying behind leaders England and second-placed Wales. However, defeat with a depleted team in Paris and an Ireland win over Italy could see Scotland drop to fifth place in the table.
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