Gregor Townsend hopes someone in his Scotland squad will step up to the plate in the absence of the injured Hamish Watson.
The flanker fractured his right hand in Edinburgh’s European Champions Cup win over Montpellier last Friday and could miss the entirety of the Six Nations.
Scotland begin their campaign at home to Italy on February 2, when Watson will be consigned to the role of spectator.
“To lose someone like Hamish is disappointing,” said Townsend.
“But it is an opportunity for someone else.”
640 – @hamishwatson7 played more minutes (640) for @Scotlandteam than any other forward in 2018, beating the most defenders by a forward (16) and making the second most tackles overall (127/132). Loss. pic.twitter.com/D5LP4LDgEb
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) January 23, 2019
Despite only narrowly overcoming Italy 29-27 in last year’s tournament, Townsend knows the pressure will be on his side to triumph on home soil.
But he warned of a tough test in store for the hosts at Murrayfield.
“The expectations in Scotland will be high, but we realise that it is a very tough game to start with,” he said.
“We have lost a number of times to Italy and we should have lost to them last year. They are a very tough team to play against, and Scotland teams in the past have found it very difficult.”
Scotland placed third in the 2018 Six Nations.
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