Skip to content

Rugby World Cup: Scotland's David Cherry out of tournament after hotel head injury

Scotland's Stuart McInally is in for David Cherry after the hooker suffered a concussion at the team hotel; Scotland play their second Rugby World Cup match against Tonga following their opening game defeat to South Africa

 Dave Cherry
Image: David Cherry has been ruled out of the remainder of the Rugby World Cup

Stuart McInally has been added to Scotland's World Cup squad after his fellow Edinburgh hooker Dave Cherry suffered a concussion in an accident at the team hotel on Monday.

The 32-year-old slipped down stairs at the team hotel on a day off and hurt his head. He is now following return-to-play protocols, rendering him unavailable for at least the next 12 days.

The decision was therefore taken to end Cherry's involvement at his first World Cup on medical grounds.

Stuart McInally
Image: Stuart McInally has been called up for his second Rugby World Cup

The situation has allowed McInally a remarkable and unexpected career swansong.

The 33-year-old announced earlier this summer that he would be retiring following this World Cup but after being part of the provisional training group throughout the build-up, he was omitted when Gregor Townsend named his final 33-player squad last month.

McInally, who captained Scotland into the last World Cup in Japan, arrived in France last week as a standby following a concussion sustained by Ewan Ashman.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky Sports Eleanor Roper reports as defending champions South Africa get their World Cup campaign off to a winning start against Scotland.

However, he has now been officially drafted in to the squad to replace Cherry, who featured as a second-half replacement in Sunday's 18-3 defeat by South Africa.

Also See:

Cherry told Scottish Rugby: "I'm hugely disappointed to be leaving the squad with concussion.

"I've loved my time in camp over the summer and gaining my first World Cup cap on Sunday.

"I want to wish the team all the best for the remainder of the competition."

Ashman is continuing his return-to-play protocols and is currently on track to be available for selection for next Sunday's match against Tonga in Nice.

Townsend sympathetic for Cherry: 'It's sad' | 'Morale hasnt been affected by defeat to South Africa

Gregor Townsend expressed sympathy for Dave Cherry after the veteran hooker's first World Cup was brought to a premature end following a fall down the stairs at Scotland's team hotel.

Cherry had played his first World Cup match as a second-half replacement for George Turner in the 18-3 defeat by world champions South Africa in Marseille.

The Edinburgh hooker flew out of France on Thursday to return home, where his fiancee Olivia is due to give birth in the coming weeks.

"It's very difficult for Dave, and it's sad," head coach Townsend said at a media briefing in Nice on Thursday.

"At least he got to play in a game. His wife's just about to give birth so at least he's got something positive to go back to. He did well to get himself into the World Cup squad and he did well at the weekend. He would have had more involvement as we went through the pool."

David Cherry
Image: Cherry's Rugby World Cup has ended due to a concussion picked up at the team hotel

Replacement McInally announced in April he would be retiring from rugby after the World Cup to pursue a career as an airline pilot.

McInally was part of Townsend's 41-man provisional training group for the tournament, but the head coach then omitted him when he named his final 33-man squad in August, seemingly ending his career.

However, the long-serving Edinburgh forward was invited out to France last week to provide cover, attending Sunday's match in Marseille before being told his services were no longer required and flying home on Monday.

McInally's roller-coaster summer then took another twist when he was summoned back to the south of France on Wednesday.

"He's been called out twice now," said Townsend, reflecting on whirlwind period for the veteran.

"On Monday I was chatting to him back at the hotel and I said 'you can stay until tomorrow or go back today, it looks like Ewan is on track to make a full recovery, so there's no reason to stay'.

"And then he came back out two days later and he's trained today. He's obviously kept training, he's been topping up (his fitness) and he's always said he'd be ready for the opportunity. Maybe he would have been thinking that would have happened last week, but it's now happened for him.

"Stuart is a very experienced player for us. He's obviously been at World Cups before and had trained really well throughout the (pre-tournament) camp and had played well so we're fortunate that we have someone with his experience and quality to step in."

South Africa v Scotland - Rugby World Cup 2023 - Pool B - Stade de Marseille
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool B match at the Stade de Marseille, France. Picture date: Sunday September 10, 2023.
Image: Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend says morale has not been affected by defeat to South Africa

The Scotland players had three days off following Sunday's defeat by South Africa, with the players' families invited into the camp.

Townsend is adamant there will be no hangover from their opening-weekend setback as they build towards the Tonga showdown.

"I don't think morale was ever affected," he said when asked if he felt the short break was beneficial to the players.

"We knew this would be an opportunity to spend time with families because our next games (after Tonga) are pretty much game then into six or seven-day turnarounds, so it will be quickly into that process.

"We saw the families all together in the hotel for the last two or three days and that was really good, but the mindset they came in to train with today was excellent.

"They worked really hard. That was a tough session, tomorrow's will be tough again, and Sunday's will be tough. We know we've got an opportunity now to push things a bit harder and then we get back into a normal Test week, which starts on Tuesday for us."

Around Sky