Frank Hadden could be forgiven for wanting to wrap Euan Murray in cotton wool this weekend but Scotland's prop star feels he needs to play for his club.
Hadden is already short of scrummagers for the penultimate RBS 6 Nations clash with Ireland on Saturday week following the news Allan Jacobsen requires shoulder surgery.
Murray has only just returned from a month’s absence with a rib injury, helping his country get off the mark in this year’s tournament with a 26-6 win over Italy on Saturday.
Scotland head coach Hadden is powerless to prevent Northampton picking the 28-year-old for this weekend’s Guinness Premiership clash at Worcester, a game the player himself is keen to take part in so he can build up his match fitness.
Murray said: “A front-five player needs to be playing regularly and there’s no better preparation for a front-five player than the Premiership.”
Murray emerged from a bruising encounter at Murrayfield on Saturday suitably battle-scarred but was far more concerned about his energy levels.
“I was exhausted!” he said, confirming stitches around his right eye were not of serious concern.
“The three weeks or so that I missed obviously had an impact on my match fitness.”
Hadden was happy to see Murray play 80 minutes for his club the weekend before last but will be in two minds whether it is worth the risk on Saturday.
The same applies to Alasdair Dickinson, who is the likely replacement for Jacobsen against Ireland should Geoff Cross fail to recover from the head knock he sustained against Wales just over three weeks ago.
Dickinson could easily play some part in Gloucester’s Premiership match at Leicester on Saturday and Hadden cannot afford to lose either him or Murray for the Ireland game.
With Scotland suffering defeat in their opening two Six Nations matches in Murray’s absence, the Saints star was touted as something of a saviour in the build-up to the Italy encounter.
“There was some extra pressure but you just deal with pressure,” he said afterwards, insisting it had not affected his preparation.
“I prepare the same way as I prepare for any game.
“We all have our role to play and we stuck together. It was our aim to work together and work hard with a common goal and we felt we did that.”
He added: “We always expected a very physical contest against big, strong forwards and I was pleased with how we dealt with things.
“I thought our set-piece went well and I thought there were a lot of positives to be taken out of the game.
“There are still things to work on. We can cut out some of the penalties we gave away early on in the second half.
“But I thought it was a good performance.
“We’re obviously delighted to win by 20 points. That’s very encouraging.
“We’re happy to get a win in the Six Nations and hopefully we can build on that.”