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Scotland send for reinforcements after painful defeat

Al Strokosch could miss the rest of the RBS 6 Nations Championship while eight of the Scotland A team that beat their English opponents on Friday have been drafted into the senior squad smarting from Saturday's comprehensive 38-18 defeat at Twickenham.

A visit to a specialist tomorrow will determine the Perpignan flanker's prospects after he left the field just 13 minutes into the Calcutta Cup match, but early indications are not promising.

"It would seem he has a fractured orbit [around the eye] but, as ever with collision-type injuries, they can take time to settle," said James Robson, Scotland's team doctor.

Whether psychological damage has been inflicted on Scotland's pack by the manner of the convincing defeat remains to be seen, but there is no doubt about the physical effects with Dougie Hall (knee), Dave Denton (knee) and Johnnie Beattie (ankle), all requiring further assessment.

In all, 13 players will be added to the 23 stripped on Saturday as preparations get underway for a vital meeting with the Italian side that exploded into the tournament with a second successive home win over France yesterday.

Four of those called up – Grant Gilchrist, Rob Harley, Pat MacArthur and Peter Murchie – provided cover at Twickenham while Peter Horne, who was initially chosen for the tournament opener, will return to camp having been ruled out with a thumb injury.

Promoted from the A team after their 13-9 win in Newcastle are Ally Dickinson, Tom Heathcote, Sean Kennedy, Steve Lawrie, Duncan Taylor, Richie Vernon, Nikki Walker and Jon Welsh who all seized their chance to impress in Friday's match.

Of their senior XV counterparts, only Stuart Hogg could be considered to have done the same thing on Saturday, but the Scotland full-back drew no consolation from that. "I'm pleased with my own performance but at the end of the day it's a team game.

"You could have the best game of the season but if you come away with a defeat, it defeats the whole purpose."

RBS 6 Nations. Pages 8-11

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