Fraser Brown is the only home-based member of Scotland’s World Cup training squad currently unable to take a full part in training. The hooker picked up a nasty-looking leg injury during Glasgow Warriors’ Guinness PRO14 Grand Final defeat to Leinster three-and-a-half weeks ago, but head coach Gregor Townsend says he is confident that the player will be fit in time for the World Cup.

“He has had a tidy-up operation around two of his toes because of what happened in the Leinster game,” explained Townsend. “When we saw his reaction, we were initially worried it was his knee, and then something else, so it's good news and we are confident he'll be available for the World Cup – but we'll see how he goes over the next few weeks.”

Townsend added that Scotland’s four warm-up matches – against France on 17th and 24th August, and against Georgia on 31st August and 6th September - might be too soon for Brown, but previous experience reassures him that the 29-year-old can be close to his best for the World Cup even with a significantly shortened lead-in.

“Those games might be too early but that will depend on how he goes once he starts running again,” said the coach. “He would have to be very close to being ready by then – we would have to be making a decision in whether to play him in those games – maybe the last one.

“There are two weeks between the last game and the Ireland game. We will know a few weeks before if he is on track and if he's not we will work with the three other hookers we have here or perhaps look to bring someone else in as a precaution. Just now, we are confident he will come back in time.

“He is a quick healer,” Townsend added. “For example, he had an injury leading into the PRO14 semis and final on his other foot and we thought he would miss those games, but he played in them. He has had a couple of injuries in recent seasons and has played very well on his return. It's just unfortunate he got injured in the last game.”

The other hookers currently in the squad are Stuart McInally, George Turner and Grant Stewart. Next cab off the rank would likely be Jake Kerr of Leicester Tigers, followed by Dave Cherry of Edinburgh, with Townsend confirming that record cap-holder Ross Ford is not going to come back into contention.

“I’ll leave Ross to say what he wants to do, but I don’t think he’ll be playing rugby beyond this summer. I know they had a big farewell with Edinburgh. At one stage he was looking at continuing playing, but I think he has made the decision that that’s him.”

Brown apart, Townsend was able to report a clean bill of health for the rest of the squad, although only players contracted to Edinburgh and Glasgow have been available to train with the squad these last three days, with those based in England and France being wrapped in cotton-wool by their clubs under World Rugby’s Regulation Nine, which governs player release for international rugby.

“The guys who were training looked sharp, so that is a big positive, that we have more players available than we had during the season,” said Townsend, whilst simultaneously knocking his knuckle against the wooden desk in front of him.

“We had a couple of guys who got operated on through injury [last season] – Blair Kinghorn missed the end of the season, Nick Grigg was back by the end of the season but had been injured, John Barclay had been injured most of the season but came back and Duncan Taylor is now back fully training.”

“Finn Russell has had the longest season of his career but is in good condition. Other guys who played for Glasgow in their final, and Greig Laidlaw who had that [French Top 14] final at the weekend, are all in good condition.”

The fitness of Taylor is particularly good news, with the Saracens man a key member of the squad before a horrible run of bad luck side-lined him for most of the last two seasons.

“He trained the last three weeks at the end of the season full-contact, and the feedback we had from a couple of players and coaches [at Saracens] is that he was looking excellent,” said Townsend. “If he continues his progress, he’ll be one of the guys we’ll look to play in the first or second [warm-up] game, because he’ll be ready to go having not had a long season.”