SCOTLAND tighthead WP Nel looks likely to miss Saturday’s Six Nations Championship meeting with Ireland after international and Edinburgh team-mate Allan Dell indicated that the squad is preparing for his absence.

Nel limped off the pitch early in the second half during Saturday’s 33-20 opening weekend win over Italy and Dell reckons he is struggling.

“It’s a shame about WP,” he said. “WP is a very experienced tighthead [but] we have played in the Six Nations without him before. Simon Berghan I assume will come in and fill the three jersey. He has played well for Edinburgh and he has played well for Scotland at tighthead. That experience and aggression that WP brings to the front row will be solely missed I feel.”

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Scotland assistant coach Mike Blair meanwhile indicated that while yet another Edinburgh prop, Murray McCallum, has been brought into the squad to provide cover, the hope is that Nel will not be sidelined for long.

“When he went off it was a precaution, originally and he just tightened up a bit,” he said. “That’s when the information came back about the tear, so it will just be a little bit of time. Some people react quickly to it, some people don’t. You don’t really know.”

Blair also confirmed that back five forward Sam Skinner will miss the meeting with Ireland after going off with an ankle injury on Saturday