Borderer Rory Sutherland looking set to be fit again ahead of Lions tour

Hawick rugby star Rory Sutherland is now looking likely to be fit again in plenty of time for the British and Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa after previously being rated as touch and go.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 4:26 pm
Updated Friday, 14th May 2021, 4:35 pm
Rory Sutherland and, right, Stuart Hogg in action during the Guinness Six Nations match between Scotland and Italy at Murrayfield on March 20 in Edinburgh (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The 28-year-old hasn’t played since going off injured with a dislocated shoulder just short of an hour into Scotland’s 27-23 Six Nations victory against France on Friday, March 26, but he’s well on the mend and looking to be on schedule to get back on a pitch before next month is out, according to Richard Cockerill, his club boss at Edinburgh.

“He is doing very, very well. He is getting better every day,” Cockerill told a press conference this week ahead of his side’s game tomorrow, May 15, against Glasgow Warriors at the capital’s Murrayfield Stadium.

“Whether he sees any rugby with us before the end of the season remains to be seen, but we are hopeful that will be the case.”

The loosehead prop is now expected to take a further month or so to recover from the shoulder injury he sustained in Paris, putting him in the frame for the Lions’ warm-up game against Japan at Murrayfield on Saturday, June 26, as well as the tour itself in July and August.

If he does indeed get to play a part in that game, it could be one of two he features in against the Japanese in Edinburgh in a matter of months as Scotland have announced a home autumn test match against them there on Saturday, November 20.

It follows other autumn internationals against Australia on Sunday, November 7, and South Africa on Saturday, November 13.

Sutherland, like his club boss, is confident he’ll be better well before the end of next month, saying: “Everything’s fine. It’s getting stronger every day.

“Rehab’s going well and there’s no doubt I’ll be fit for the tour.

“I dislocated 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 was X-rayed and I hadn’t done any damage to the bone. There was just a little bit of rotator cuff damage and a little bit of damage to my tricep but nothing major, so it was the best possible outcome.

“I got away with it. I’m really lucky.”

Former Hawick and Gala star Sutherland is one two Borderers in the 37-strong Lions squad, the other being fellow ex-Green Stuart Hogg.

It’s Sutherland’s first Lions tour, but Hogg, 28, also featured in 2017 and 2013’s campaigns.

The Teries are among eight Scots selected by head coach Warren Gatland, the Dark Blues’ biggest representation in the red-shirted multinational team for over 30 years.

That, says Sutherland, is testament to how much the Scots have come on under fellow ex-Gala player Gregor Townsend, also heading to South Africa as attack coach for Gatland, along with Steve Tandy, his defence coach for the Scottish national team.

“It makes it really special, and I think it’s credit to Gregor Townsend and Steve Tandy and the rest of the coaching staff that they’ve managed to get the team to that level,” said Sutherland, now living in Lauder.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with them over the Six Nations and the autumn tests.

“It’s a life-changing thing getting to do something like this, and my wife and kids support me 100 per cent. They’re really proud and absolutely over the moon, the same as me.”