Scotland – who are 6/4 second favouirtes to finish bottom of the Six Nations table – will be without winger Rory Lamont for the rest of the Championship following an operation on a leg break he suffered against France at the weekend.
Lamont was stretchered off after half-an-hour of his side’s 23-17 loss at Murrayfield – a defeat that leaves the Scots winless after three games.
Boss Andy Robinson looks likely to bring in back Nick De Luca to replace the Glasgow man following his impressive display after coming on against France.
The Edinburgh back looks set to start in Scotland’s clash against Ireland a week on Saturday.
The absence of Lamont is another big blow to Robinson who has become increasingly frustrated with his side’s failure to fulfil their undoubted potential.
They were much improved against France but they are still 6/4 second favourites to claim the wooden spoon – and Robinson’s position as head coach was already precarious before their poor start to the Six Nations.
He has won just two of the 13 Six Nations games he has taken charge of for the Scots and they have now lost their last five on the bounce and any more disappointments could see Robinson exit sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile, Ireland still have a rearranged match against France to play this weekend before the challenge of Scotland.
Ireland can take confidence from the fact that four key players – Rob Kearney, Gordon D’Arcy, Cian Healy and Sean O’Brien – are overcoming injuries and all look set to start the game against the undefeated French.
However, Ireland head to Paris as 5/2 outsiders for the clash and have not beaten the French in their previous four encounters.