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Six Nations 2022: Jamie Ritchie out for Scotland and Rory Darge may be an option to debut in Wales

Jamie Ritchie is out of Saturday's game against Wales.
Jamie Ritchie is out of Saturday's game against Wales.

Jamie Ritchie seems set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines in the only downside to Scotland’s Calcutta Cup victory, but there are multiple options to replace him.

The flanker from St Andrews had a scan on what seems to be confirmed as a torn hamstring. He was officially removed from the squad camp on Monday as preparations began for the game against Wales in Cardiff.

Dave Cherry, the hooker who performed so well in last year’s championship, was the only addition. But assistant coach John Dalziel said that was keeping all available hookers “understanding the systems” rather than any injury worries.

‘Jamie is a big miss’

Rory Darge has been sweeping up man of the match medals for Glasgow.

“Jamie’s been one of the top players for us for the past few years, and he’s really grown as a leader as well,” said Dalziel, the forwards coach. “He’s a big miss but our squad has been prepared for those because it’s a very physical competition.

“Ahead of going to Wales and trying to back up we’re looking at the depth of our squad and ways we can freshen up. We’ll be prepared for who can come in, although we’ve got a lot of good players.”

That could be Sam Skinner moving to back row, Magnus Bradbury playing at 6, or giving a new cap to Glasgow’s in-form Rory Darge.

“Rory has been outstanding form, hasn’t he?” continued Dalziel. “That’s the thing, in terms of players who are on form, it’s so close.

“We’ve got options around there, Magnus, others who can play at 6. We’ll look at how to develop in terms of what we feel is the best blend to counter the threat Wales will pose.”

Darge could be a ‘hybrid’

Ritchie started as seven and developed into more of a hybrid back rower, and Darge is one who could play that kind of role, he added.

“When Jamie started that was the model we went for, having two sevens in the back-row. It’s helped Jamie as to how he’s developed as he’s almost a hybrid player and is used at the line-out.

“Rory has that option and he’s played a lot at eight as well. In terms of that skill-set he ticks a box as well.

“We have a lot of different horses for courses. It’s about finding a blend to counter the threat that Wales will pose.”

There are plenty of potential pitfalls for Scotland against a Wales team routed by Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, added Dalziel.

“Ireland are many people’s favourites for the championship,” he pointed out. “They dominated the first 30 minutes against Wales and got ahead on the scoreboard.

“That’s a difficult thing to overcome in the Six Nations when you go away from home. That can also be a lesson for us.

“I’m sure Wales will look to fix a lot of things from last week/ They’ll see this game as a massive opportunity.”

‘We need to be at the top of our game’

They won’t read a lot into Welsh regions’ dire results in the URC either, he added.

“We have had good results against Wales domestically over the years. But we’ve still not been able to go to Cardiff and win,” he said.

“We know the quality which Wales possess. They will have players returning who didn’t play against Ireland so we will need to be at our very best.

“Wales will play at a level where we need to be at the top of our game to win.”

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