Scotland coach Vern Cotter has praised his team’s improvement in the scrum and at the breakdown during the second half of their 28-22 defeat to Ireland on Saturday.
Scotland prop Ryan Grant has a chance of being fit for the Rugby World Cup after scans revealed he has not broken his ankle.
The issue for Cotter is that losing Grant will force him to use the remaining three looseheads in the squad, Alasdair Dickinson, Gordon Reid and Allan Dell, more than he intended. There was a promising debut for New Zealand-born flanker Hugh Blake against Ireland, while old heads have been brought back in to provide experience.
Glasgow hooker Kevin Bryce will join up with the squad for training ahead of the weekend’s Test against Italy in Turin, with clubmate Fraser Brown being assessed with a tight hamstring.
Scotland begin their World Cup campaign at Kingsholm on September 23 against Japan. “If you look at the traditional spine of the first choice side, made up of say, Ford, Strauss, Laidlaw, Russell and Hogg (and I’ll throw Jonny Gray in there just cause he’s brilliant), you have to believe we can be very competitive”.