Six Nations 2015: Vern Cotter adds Johnnie Beattie to Scotland squad
Castres number eight drafted in as Scotland medics monitor growing injury concerns after weekend of European action
Vern Cotter has called up Johnnie Beattie to his Scotland squad for the upcoming Six Nations.
The Scotland head coach had initially left out the Castres number eight from his 32-man squad, but was forced to act as medics monitor a number of injuries ahead of their three-day training camp that begins today in Motherwell.
We’d like to see a more physical approach and he knows that he would like to bring it as well.
Beattie missed the end of last year’s Six Nations through injury, but returned to play a part in Scotland’s impressive autumn campaign that brought wins against Argentina and Tonga as well as a narrow defeat to the All Blacks.
Following his summer move from Montpellier to Castres, the 29-year-old has been part of a disappointing team that is second bottom of the Top 14 and performed poorly in the European Champions Cup.
But speaking at last week’s squad announcement, Cotter has no doubts about the skills that Beattie can bring to his team.
“He hasn’t been playing to the standards he’d like to be play to,” Cotter said. “I think he’s the first one to admit that.
“There probably will be another loose forward added to the group and Johnnie is one the strong candidates for that.
“We’d like to see a more physical approach and he knows that he would like to bring it as well.
“We understand it’s difficult playing in a team that’s getting beaten every week and has an environment that’s not particularly positive, but we need strong, aggressive, powerful loose forwards to compete these days.”
Despite being out through injury, Glasgow Warriors back-row duo Adam Ashe and Rob Harley were called up and both are being monitored.
Cotter expects Harley to be ready for the opening game against France in Paris on Saturday 7 February, but Ashe’s return is doubtful until mid-way through the competition with the home match against Italy at BT Murrayfield on 28 February the target.
After a bruising final round of the European competitions, which saw Edinburgh reach the last eight of the Challenge Cup and Glasgow Warriors narrowly miss out on reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup, Scottish Rugby confirmed the following players require further assessment and treatment:
David Denton (calf), Alex Dunbar (concussion), Dougie Fife (leg), Robert Harley (knee/ankle), Sean Maitland (shoulder), Matt Scott (shoulder), Alasdair Strokosch (shoulder), Greig Tonks (concussion), Ben Toolis (back).