RORY SUTHERLAND had a few nervous weeks after dislocating his shoulder during Scotland’s Six Nations victory over France in Paris at the end of March but is now 100 percent confident that he will be fit again in time to play a full part in the build-up to this summer’s Lions tour. The squad will go into camp two weeks before their one and only warm-up match against Japan on 26th June. 

“Inthe first couple of weeks after it happened, I was in limbo a little bit – I’d had my first scan and they couldn’t see what was going on – but then I got my second scan and it was a lot clearer as to what needed done,” explained the loose-head prop. “Everything’s fine, it’s getting stronger every day, rehab is going well and there’s no doubt I’ll be fit for the tour. 

“When I injured it against France, I fell on the ground and dislocated it, and when I turned over onto my back I popped it back in myself. I’ve been X-rayed and I didn’t do any damage to the bone, there was just a little bit of rotator cuff damage and a little bit of damage to my triceps, but nothing major, so it was the best possible outcome.  

“I got away with it. Really lucky. And, like I said, things are going well now with the rehab so it’s looking good.” 

“I think we’re going to target four or five weeks from this week,” the 28-year-old added, when pushed on how quickly he will be back, which means he could get some game time for Edinburgh in the last two rounds of the Rainbow Cup. 

It would have been a bitter pill to swallow had Sutherland been ruled out, particularly so because of the journey he has been on to reach this stage. He started out playing mini-rugby alongside Stuart Hogg in Hawick, but as his team-mate quickly progressed into the professional ranks, Sutherland went off and rained as engineer whilst playing at club level with Hawick, Biggar and then Gala. 

He was into his early 20s when he got his break at Edinburgh, but then spent over a year side-lined with a groin injury, requiring surgery which left him bedbound and wondering if he would ever play the game again. 

“It was a tough couple of years, coming off the back of a big injury and scraping the barrel for five or ten minutes with Edinburgh, then eventually getting opportunities to play for my country,” he recalls. “Going through that time [when he was out with the groin injury], I wondered if I’d ever play rugby again. To be in this position now, I’m absolutely over the moon and can’t wait to get stuck in.” 

“I’d seen it [the Lions call-up] being talked about a lot in the media which is nice, but to hear it finally being announced is amazing, pretty overwhelming. 

“It’s a life changing thing getting to do something like this and my wife and kids support me 100% in my decision to go on the tour. They’re really proud and absolutely over the moon, the same as me. My wife has organised for my family to come to the house so they’re all just waiting for me downstairs!” 

Sutherland is, of course, extending a long-running tradition of Lions tourists from Hawick, and believes that making the trip with one of his very first rugby team-mates is the icing on the cake.  

“Hoggy went down the rugby route – I think it was called Base Rugby at the time at Borders College – and it worked out brilliantly for him,” he concludes. “I went down a different path and got a trade. Now we’ve met again at the top level. It’s pretty amazing!”