2023 Rugby World Cup

Emotional farewell as injured McInally heads home

Stuart McInally
Blow: Stuart McInally

Scotland’s Rugby World Cup squad paid an emotional tribute to Stuart McInally after the former skipper was ruled out of the tournament with a neck injury.

The 33-year-old missed out on Gregor Townsend’s final pool for France, only to be recalled after Dave Cherry was concussed falling down stairs at the team hotel.

That rekindled McInally’s hopes of earning his 50th cap in his second World Cup but those dreams were shattered in the build-up to the weekend victory with Tonga.

“To get the news on Saturday that he wasn’t going to recover in time from a neck injury he picked up in training is so disappointing for him,” said Townsend.

“We all thought this would be a great way for him to end his career, coming out and getting his 50th cap.

“He got a presentation in the changing room from the players and Grant Gilchrist gave him a fantastic speech. It’s a very emotional time for all of us, especially Stuart.

“That was something he deserved and had earned given what he had put into that jersey over his career and what he has put in over the last three months.

“It’s just bad luck – it wasn’t even an injury in the session, it was more that at the end of the session he felt pain in his neck. He didn’t recover for two days and we had him scanned on Saturday, to see if there was a bigger issue, which there is.”

McInally revealed in April that he planned to start training for a new career as an airline pilot after the World Cup.

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