Edinburgh flanker Jamie Ritchie has been appointed as Scotland’s captain for their upcoming Autumn Nations Series Tests against Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Argentina at Murrayfield.
Ritchie is Edinburgh’s current co-captain and previously skippered his country alongside Ali Price, against Tonga in 2021. The 26-year-old has played for Scotland for four years since making his Test debut against Canada in 2018 and has won 32 caps.
Scotland’s captaincy has not stuck with one player consistently, with Stuart Hogg leading the side for the most part since 2020.
Former skipper returns
Hogg is back in the squad after being rested for Scotland‘s recent three-Test series against Los Pumas in Argentina. On that tour, Grant Gilchrist captained Scotland during the first two Tests and Hamish Watson led the side in the final match.
Townsend has named a 40-man squad which includes new call-up Jack Dempsey in the forwards. The Glasgow Warriors number eight qualifies for Scotland through his Scottish grandfather.
Having previously played 14 matches for Australia, the 28-year-old has made himself available to play for Scotland under World Rugby’s birthright transfer rules which allows a Test player to switch allegiance to another country they are eligible to play for following a three-year stand down period.
Meanwhile, Warriors second-row Richie Gray has also been called up and will look to add to his 67 caps with the last of those won during last year’s Six Nations.
Edinburgh forward duo WP Nel and Nick Haining have been recalled to the squad after featuring in this year’s Six Nations but they missed out on selection for the summer series against Los Pumas.
In the backs, Gloucester duo Chris Harris and Adam Hastings are included after the latter was sidelined for the tour to Argentina through injury.
Blair Kinghorn and Ross Thompson have been included in the squad once again and will join Hastings in the battle for the number 10 jersey while Finn Russell, who is unavailable for Scotland’s opening against Australia which falls outside the Test window, misses out on selection.
Bath centre Cameron Redpath, who played against Wales in the 2022 Six Nations before sustaining an injury that ruled him out of the championship, also returns to the squad.
Stafford McDowall is the only uncapped player in the backline and earns his call-up after shining for Glasgow Warriors.
Scotland kick off their Autumn Nations Series campaign against Australia on Saturday, October 29 before they face Fiji who they last played in 2018, when Adam Hastings scored his first Tet try in a thrilling 54-17 victory.
On Sunday, November 13, they will host New Zealand at Murrayfield in an eagerly anticipated match with the two teams having last faced each other in 2017, when Scotland were narrowly beaten 22-17.
The series will finish with a clash against Argentina and Scotland will be looking to end the year with a victory after suffering a 2-1 series loss in the dying moments of the third Test of the summer tour.
Forwards: Ewan Ashman, Josh Bayliss, Jamie Bhatti, Dave Cherry, Andy Christie, Luke Crosbie, Scott Cummings, Jack Dempsey, Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Richie Gray, Nick Haining, WP Nel, Jamie Ritchie (c), Pierre Schoeman, Sam Skinner, Rory Sutherland, George Turner, Murphy Walker, Hamish Watson
Backs: Mark Bennett, Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Adam Hastings, Stuart Hogg, George Horne, Damien Hoyland, Blair Kinghorn, Stafford McDowall, Rufus McLean, Ali Price, Cameron Redpath, Ollie Smith, Kyle Steyn, Ross Thompson, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe, Ben White