Rugby World Cup: Scots planned for loss of John Hardie - Strokosch

By Phil GoodladBBC Scotland
Al Strokosch in action for Scotland
Al Strokosch says Scotland trained without John Hardie
Rugby World Cup Pool B: Scotland v USA
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds Date: Sunday, 27 September Kick-off: 14:30 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland & 5 live; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Scotland back-row Al Strokosch says the loss of John Hardie for Sunday's match with the USA is "a blow" but that the team have been planning for it.

The flanker failed a second assessment after suffering a head knock in Wednesday's 45-10 victory over Japan.

His place is taken by Ryan Wilson.

"He's a bit of a terminator once he gets going," Strokosch told BBC Scotland. "He hasn't trained, so we've been preparing with Wilson at seven, so it's not really changed us too much."

Wilson is promoted from the bench - as is hooker Ross Ford, who comes into the side for Fraser Brown, who will provide cover for the back row.

This is 32-year-old Strokosch's second World Cup and the back-row, who plays his club rugby in France for Perpignan, says his experience, allied with other senior players, will provide a good balance for the side.

"There's a strong leadership group throughout this squad," he said. "Henry (Pyrgos) will lead well at scrum-half, myself in the back-row and 'Fordy' (Ross Ford) is in at hooker now.

"There's a lot of experience and it should work well with the young boys with enthusiasm."

While the USA have had a week to prepare for Sunday's match, this will be the second game in four days for the Scots and Strokosch says part of the recovery plan has seen a clamping down on coffee.

"We're limited to three cups of coffee a day and all before 3pm," he revealed. "It's to allow us to have a full eight to 12-hour sleep at night time.

"There's a few coffee monsters in the team, but they're managing to rule it out for a few days."

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