Glasgow back-rower Rory Darge and Bath stand-off Finn Russell have been named as Scotland’s new co-captains for the upcoming Guinness Six Nations.
It has additionally been revealed that free-scoring wing Darcy Graham has been dominated out of the opening two matches via damage.
Jamie Ritchie had been the skipper since changing Stuart Hogg within the function for the 2022 Autumn collection however, with the Edinburgh flanker having been hindered by shoulder and jaw accidents following final yr’s World Cup, Gregor Townsend has opted to make a change in an effort to “further grow and develop the leadership within the squad”.
Both Russell, 31, and Darge, 23, have earlier expertise of captaining the staff in Ritchie’s absence.
The talismanic Russell, who has been in spectacular type since shifting to Bath from Racing 92, is prone to lead the Scots within the opening match away to Wales as 23-year-old Darge is anticipated to overlook the early a part of the championship as he battles to get better from a knee damage sustained on the finish of December.
“Appointing co-captains for this year’s Guinness Six Nations allows us to further grow and develop the leadership within the squad,” head coach Townsend instructed Scottish Rugby on Sunday morning.
“Rory and Finn captained Scotland last summer and bring different strengths and styles of leadership to the table.
“Both are highly respected within our squad and have been part of our leadership group for some time.
“I’m sure they will thrive with this responsibility and lean on our other leaders to drive certain aspects of our preparation, mindset and performance.”
Ritchie was sidelined for a month after the World Cup on account of a shoulder damage sustained within the first half of the pool-stage defeat by Ireland in October. After returning in mid-November for six Edinburgh matches, the back-rower suffered a jaw damage within the win over Glasgow on 30 December.
Townsend stated final week that he was undecided on the captaincy and that he wanted to see Ritchie “put his best foot forward” in Friday’s Challenge Cup match away to Scarlets.
However, the 27-year-old was restricted to a second-half substitute look as he made his return to motion.
Russell’s appointment as captain is especially important because the influential fly-half has had a strained relationship with Townsend at instances prior to now.
Russell was lower from the squad forward of the 2020 Six Nations after he missed a coaching session following a late-night consuming session and he was additionally controversially omitted from the preliminary squad for the 2022 autumn Tests as Townsend appeared intent on phasing him out earlier than accidents prompted him to recall the previous Glasgow fly-half halfway via the collection.
“Playing for Scotland is a huge honour and to co-captain the side is a privilege and something I am proud of,” Russell stated.
“We have such a talented squad and to lead them alongside Rory represents a massive opportunity. I can’t wait to get started with this year’s championship.”
In the identical replace that confirmed the change of captaincy, Scottish Rugby revealed that Edinburgh wing Graham will miss the opening two matches away to Wales and at house to France with a quad damage.
The 26-year-old – Scotland’s second highest try-scorer of all time – has been changed within the squad by Ross McCann, a 26-year-old wing who performed for Scotland Under-20s earlier than changing into a full-time Scotland 7s participant.