Scotland coach Frank Hadden is set to have a back-row conundrum to solve ahead of the RBS 6 Nations opener against France at Murrayfield.
Simon Taylor’s broken thumb looks increasingly unlikely to heal in time for the Stade Francais star to take his place at the base of the scrum.
The loss of the Lions tourist in previous seasons would have been an enormous blow but Scotland are now blessed with extensive talents in the back row.
Indeed, the absence of Taylor merely gives Hadden a headache as to how to solve the problem with numerous personnel and positional options available to him.
A straight switch at number eight could be made by drafting Glasgow’s Johnnie Beattie or, more likely, Edinburgh’s Dave Callam into the starting line-up.
Alternatively, Ally Hogg could move from openside flanker to fill Taylor’s shirt and take on a role he is perhaps better suited to.
That would mean John Barclay, a turnover specialist, being handed the No 7 jersey and thus give Scotland a new dimension in their breakaway unit.
Finally, with Jim Hamilton struggling with game time and injury at Leicester, there is a possibility Jason White could be moved up into the second row.
That would enable Hadden to select an exceptionally mobile pack containing White, Nathan Hines, Hogg, Barclay and Callam or Beattie.