In the modern game, injuries to frontline players have become the norm, and the Six Nations is no more immune to that brute fact than any other competition.
The 2019 iteration has followed this trend, the Home Nations sides in particular feeling the pinch.
This weekend saw potential injuries to both Scotland’s Finn Russell and Wales’ Dan Biggar while on domestic duty at their clubs – with several players – Stuart Hogg, Devin Toner and Maro Itoje among others – unable to make it through the first two rounds of the Guinness Six Nations unscathed.
With all that in mind RugbyPass has put together a composite XV of players who are unavailable for selection through injury.
15 Stuart Hogg
Hogg’s shoulder injury following a questionable collision with Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony was a hammer blow for the Scots. The good news is it doesn’t look like he needs surgery and could be back in action in time for the Calcutta Cup.
14 Anthony Watson
Watson is on the long term injury list. The 24-year-old initially tore his Achille’s tendon in the Six Nations clash with Ireland in March, with a six-month lay-off reportedly expected at the time. But Bath revealed in August that his operation was not a success and he instead re-tore the tendon, with director of rugby Todd Blackadder refusing to put a date on a return.
13 Garry Ringrose
12 Huw Jones
Jones is unlikely to play any further part in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations. The Glasgow Warriors midfielder sustained knee ligament damage in the national team’s round two defeat to Ireland at BT Murrayfield Stadium, with scan results suggesting the injury recovery time would likely be beyond the reaches of the current campaign. While he normally plays 13 for Scotland, we’ve selected at 12 where he’s also adept.
11 Chris Ashton
Ashton suffered a minor calf strain during a training camp in London last week. He will spend the week rehabbing with Sale Sharks.
10 Finn Russell*
Finn Russell sustained a head injury during Racing 92’s TOP 14 clash with Toulouse in Paris yesterday and was withdrawn from play. He is now subject to further monitoring and the graduated return to play protocol.
9 Luke McGrath
McGrath’s knee injury against Toulouse in the European Championship while playing for Leinster has effectively ruled him out of the Six Nations. He may have played second fiddle to Conor Murray, but a very talented one at that.
1 Mako Vunipola
The competition’s standout loosehead, Vunipola has presented Jones with a significant selection headache in the frontrow. Ben Moon and Ellis Genge appear to be fighting it out for the honour, but neither are at the British and Irish Lion’s level as yet.
1:57 – Mako Vunipola has made 23 carries and 38 tackles in 119 minutes of action in the 2019 #GuinnessSixNations; his rate of one carry or tackle every 1 minute 57 seconds is the best of any player in the competition this year. Sidelined. pic.twitter.com/uuUhEwLrOs
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) February 12, 2019
2 Dylan Hartley
Having been dogged by concussion, it is his knee that has kept him out of contention so far in the tournament. While he’s training with England, he is yet to be cleared to play.
3 WP Nel
4 Devin Toner
The 6’10 lock aggravated an ankle injury and has undergone surgery for the issue suffered in Ireland’s 32-20 loss to England and will be sidelined for two months. Has missed just seven games since Schmidt took charge of Ireland.
5 Maro Itoje
A knee ligament tear threatened to sideline the lock for the entire tournament, but the early prognosis proved inaccurate and it seems that he will almost certainly feature before the Six Nations concludes. Currently he remains ‘sans action’.
6 John Barclay
Barclay is recovering from a ruptured Achilles he suffered last May, and while Cockerill said he expects the 32-year-old to make his debut for Edinburgh this year, he is out of the frame for the start of Scotland’s Six Nations.
Turnovers are a ? way to win a match! Here are the leaders in this department so far…
1?? Josh Navidi
2?? John Barclay
3?? Owen Farrell
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 3, 2018
7 Sam Underhill
Underhill, who underwent ankle surgery seven weeks ago, will return to the field in five weeks provided his rehabilitation continues at the rate it has. We could easily have chosen the outstanding Hamish Watson here.
8 Taulupe Faletau
The 28-year-old Bath backrow underwent surgery on a broken arm, a second surgery in recent months and he will not feature in this year’s tournament. Maybe the only Number 8 to truly rival Billy Vunipola in Europe.
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