Scotland coach Frank Hadden has urged supporters not to read too much into the withdrawal of Craig Smith from his tour party which will set off for Argentina on Saturday evening.
The Edinburgh prop, who has had an injury ravaged 18 months, stepped down from the tour squad yesterday.
Hadden said: “We’re disappointed that Craig hasn’t felt able to tour.
“I had a long chat with him and I felt he would find it difficult to get up for the trip. He has been going non-stop since a serious neck injury 18 months ago and I think he feels he needs a bit of a breather.
“On balance, we felt it would be better to go with someone who felt able to give everything to the trip.
“There’s nothing sinister going on. It’s a totally amicable arrangement. I had to make a decision on what he said to me and I had to ask whether I should persevere with it.
“It came to the point where I decided that I wasn’t going to persevere and that I was going to bring in Geoff Cross, who has really impressed me this season.
“Losing Craig will be a loss because he has been around the squad for a few years and has picked up 25 caps, so his experience would have been really useful to our young squad.
“I took him to Italy this season when he wasn’t fully fit and he came off the bench and really made an impact.
“Geoff is a very different player. He is a great scrummager, everyone says that about him, so what better place for him to go and test himself than Argentina?”
Asked about Smith’s Edinburgh future, Hadden said that he would be keen to see the 29-year-old remain in Scotland.
“I haven’t spoken since we decided that he wasn’t going to come, so I don’t know if that has moved on. I would definitely like him to stay in Scotland,” he said.