Ex-Howe of Fife flanker Jamie Ritchie ruled out of Scotland test against France by injury

Jamie Ritchie during a training session at the Oriam in Edinburgh on Wednesday (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group/SRU)Jamie Ritchie during a training session at the Oriam in Edinburgh on Wednesday (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group/SRU)
Jamie Ritchie during a training session at the Oriam in Edinburgh on Wednesday (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group/SRU)
Former Howe of Fife flanker Jamie Ritchie has been ruled out of Saturday’s summer test against France by injury but national rugby team head coach Gregor Townsend is confident he’ll be fit in time for the rematch the weekend after.

Team captain Ritchie sat out Saturday gone’s 25-13 victory over Italy at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium, with Rory Darge skippering in his absence, and will be on the sidelines for this weekend’s Rugby World Cup warm-up in the capital too, with stand-off Finn Russell looking after his armband for that one.

Ritchie’s injury is reported to be only minor, though, and Townsend is hopeful that the 41-times-capped 26-year-old will be available for selection again for the second of his team’s back-to-back games against the French, in Saint-Etienne on Saturday, August 12.

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“I would hope he will be back next week,” said Townsend, 50.

“He’s confident he will be back in full training next week.

“It was a calf strain that has required more time off. He got a scan on Tuesday just to make sure there was no more damage done, and it was felt that this week there was no need to push the injury.

“He’s confident he will be running by the weekend and back to full training next week.”

Fellow ex-Howe player George Horne, in line for his 21st cap if brought on, will be on the bench this weekend.

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Russell’s first-ever captaincy nod after seven years’ worth of international apperances comes only a matter of months after being dropped from the initial Scottish squad for last autumn’s test series.

Explaining that return to favour for the 30-year-old, set to join English club Bath from France’s Racing 92 after the world cup, Townsend said: “Finn has played really well since he got back into the squad.

“He has always been a leader for us in terms of attack. He is older and has more experience and an opportunity has opened up where he’s the right man to lead us this week.

“It’s the right time to give him that opportunity, and it will be interesting to see how he goes.

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“Being vice-captain and our most important attack leader gives him a real confidence and I’m hoping that being captain gives him confidence too.

“The players that do most of the talking on the field are your No 10, your captain and maybe one other player. Finn has certainly done that for us over the last couple of years.”