Scotland are building a leadership foundation for the future and we might get a glimpse of it on Friday night against Georgia.
Fraser Brown is captain for the first time in his 60 caps for Scotland, a tribute to the way he’s come out of the lockdown period and is skippering Glasgow Warriors so far this season.
“He’s in the form of his life,” said Gregor Townsend yesterday, and the head coach is not wrong.
But it’s the vice-captain appointment that also intrigues, with Jamie Ritchie named in the post – ahead of at least four other players ahead of him in seniority in the starting XV.
Ritchie was maybe promoted to international rugby ahead of time, the injury to John Barclay in 2018 the launching pad. By the time of the World Cup a year later, he was the most consistent player Scotland had, of any vintage or position.
He carried that on during the Six Nations, while promoted to the four-man leadership group. Leading out the team himself might not be too far away, Townsend agreed.
“He’s still a young man (he turned 24 in August) and he’s developing as a leader,” said Townsend. “Obviously he developed really fast as a player over the last couple of years, and it’s been interesting and encouraging to see players that are given more leadership responsibility – that it doesn’t affect their game.
“They actually thrive on it, like Fraser has done at Glasgow this year, like Jamie did during the Six Nations.”
Stuart Hogg is the unquestioned skipper when available still, but given Jonny Gray’s captaincy at Glasgow wasn’t a success and both Brown and Stuart McInally have a shortish self-life now, it seems Ritchie is now ahead of Scott Cummings, who seemed to be the premier Future Scotland Captain among the younger members of the squad.
If his development as a player continues as it has over the last two years, the top job might not be too far away.