Flanker Alasdair Strokosch has heaped further misery on Scotland boss Andy Robinson by ruling himself out of the opening RBS 6 Nations match against France.
Robinson is down to the bare bones in the back-row department – normally one of Scotland’s strongest areas – with Simon Taylor, Jason White, Richie Vernon, Allister Hogg, Ross Rennie and David Callam all out of contention for the match at Murrayfield.
And now Strokosch, who twisted his ankle playing for Gloucester, has announced he will return south of the border for further treatment.
The loss of the 26-year-old will be a particular blow to Robinson, who appointed him pack leader for the autumn internationals.
And the former England boss may have to turn to British & Irish Lion Nathan Hines, normally a second-row, to fill the breach as an emergency blindside flanker.
Northampton flanker Scott Gray is also an option although he only started a full 80 minutes for the Saints back in November.