Ex-Howe of Fife star Jamie Ritchie to skipper Scots at Six Nations
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National head coach Gregor Townsend announced his 40-strong squad for the tournament on Tuesday and he’s given Ritchie, 26, the nod to continue as skipper.
The Edinburgh flanker, capped 36 times since 2018, took over from Exeter Chiefs full-back Stuart Hogg as captain in October for Scotland’s autumn internationals and will be hoping to retain that role, following the Six Nations, for 2023’s Rugby World Cup in September and October.
Dundee-born Ritchie isn’t the only ex-Howe of Fife player in Townsend’s squad either as he’ll be joined by Glasgow Warriors scrum-half George Horne.
The 27-year-old, a former pupil of Cupar’s Bell Baxter High School, is currently on 18 caps, also having made his international debut in 2018.
A spokesperson for the Cupar club welcomed the pair’s selection, saying: “Huge congratulations to Jamie Ritchie and George Horne for being selected as part of the Scotland squad for the 2023 Six Nations.
“Both Jamie and George have played for Howe throughout their rugby careers.”
Announcing his squad selection, Townsend, 49, said: “The Six Nations is around the corner – it’s a very exciting time – and the one year out of every four that we, as coaches, can’t wait for is a Rugby World Cup year.
“Just now I think rugby is so competitive, both within the Six Nations and worldwide, so I feel really grateful and fortunate to be involved.”
Ritchie’s predecessor as skipper, Hogg, looks set to hit a century of caps for the national team after being named in Townsend’s squad too.
He’s currently on 96 caps so he could hit double figures even without featuring in all five fixtures, starting in England on Saturday, February 4, and concluding at home to Italy on Saturday, March 19.
The 30-year-old is Scotland’s fourth most-capped player ever at the moment, behind only Perth’s Sean Lamont on 105 and Borderers Chris Paterson and Ross Ford, on 109 and 110 respectively.
Also included in the Scots’ squad are four uncapped players – Bath wing Ruaridh McConnochie, Glasgow Warriors centre Stafford McDowall and stand-off Ben Healy and Leicester Tigers second-rower Cameron Henderson.