Never mind Oprah Winfrey, all it takes is a bit of history in a few countries and bloody hell, it’s third and deciding Tests…
George North’s hopes of winning his 100th Wales cap in the Six Nations clash with Scotland have been dashed by a foot injury.
North had been set for a third-successive start at outside centre on Saturday but he suffered a scratched eye during a 21-16 victory over Ireland last weekend and then picked up a foot problem.
That made him the fifth player from that Wales starting line-up ruled out of the Edinburgh match because of injury.
“George’s eye injury that he had, he is over that, which is pleasing. He has got a foot injury, and hopefully he will be right for the England game,” coach Wayne Pivac said.
The 28-year-old North’s big day will now have to wait for February 27 when, should he feature against England, he will break Australia captain Michael Hooper’s record as the youngest player to reach a century of caps for his country.
With North’s fellow centres Johnny Williams and Jonathan Davies also absent, Pivac has turned to Nick Tompkins and Owen Watkin as his midfield partnership at Murrayfield.
New Zealand-born Cardiff Blues centre Willis Halaholo, who qualifies for Wales through residency and was only called into Wales’ Six Nations squad on Wednesday, is among the replacements.
Centre Williams and wing Hallam Amos are unavailable because of head injuries suffered in the Ireland game, while that fixture also claimed scrum-half Tomos Williams (hamstring) and flanker Dan Lydiate (knee), in addition to North.
Liam Williams returns from a three-match ban to replace Amos, with Gareth Davies taking the number nine shirt and Aaron Wainwright called into the back row as Pivac makes five enforced changes.
James Botham – grandson of England cricket great Sir Ian Botham – joins Halaholo on the bench. He won three caps during Wales’ Autumn Nations Cup campaign.
Scotland have their own problems with centre Cameron Redpath, who made a dream debut in their win over England last week, one of three players forced out of Saturday’s match with injury.
The 21-year-old Redpath was one of the heroes of last Saturday’s 11-6 victory at Twickenham as Scotland claimed a rare Calcutta Cup success, but he has a neck injury and could be out for several weeks, coach Gregor Townsend said on Thursday.
Loose forward Jamie Ritchie and winger Sean Maitland are also out through injury with Blade Thomson coming in on the blindside of the pack and Darcy Graham on the wing. Redpath is replaced by Harlequins centre James Lang.