Scotland: Jamie Ritchie happy with captaincy debut despite defeat to Australia

Colin Newboult

Scotland’s Jamie Ritchie believes his first game as captain “went well” after they succumbed to Australia at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Gregor Townsend’s men looked on course for a key victory with them 15-6 in front with just a quarter of the match remaining, but ill-discipline proved costly in the final 20 minutes.

The Scots consistently infringed, allowing the Wallabies to set up the position for James Slipper to go over, before Bernard Foley kicked the winning penalty late on.

It was a devastating way for Ritchie to end his first game as skipper but the Edinburgh flanker was still content with how everything went.

Enjoyed the experience

“I think it went well,” he said. “I thoroughly enjoyed it. I said from the get-go that I didn’t want to change anything. I speak a lot as a player as it is – just maybe people listen more to a captain.

“I enjoyed the experience and I will be looking to get some learnings moving forward.”

Ritchie also believes that they learned how to deal with setbacks in Saturday’s encounter, even though they eventually fell to a narrow loss.

“We talked a lot in the week that there would be moments in the game when we might go behind and be under pressure and we spoke of fighting to get those moments back,” he said.

“I think we did that well throughout the game. At the end we gave ourselves an opportunity to win it, but unfortunately it didn’t go over. I’m proud of the boys and the way they performed. I’m confident we can learn lessons.”

Scotland had a last-gasp kick to snatch the victory at Murrayfield but Blair Kinghorn’s penalty drifted wide.

Kinghorn had a good game despite that miss, scoring an outstanding individual try, and Ritchie has backed the fly-half to shrug off that frustration.

“Blair will bounce back, I know he will. It’s important that we get behind him because he did a lot of stuff really well. I back Blair,” he said.

“I’ve seen what he can do week in and week out. I’m confident he will bounce back and be great next week.

“I thought he had an outstanding game all over the park. Then he missed one kick. Everyone makes mistakes and we had opportunities to win the game before that so it shouldn’t have come down to it. I told him to keep his head up and be proud of how he performed.”

Sam Skinner injury

Scotland will face Fiji in their next match of the Autumn Nations Series but they will likely be without Sam Skinner, who went off injured in the first half of Saturday’s clash.

“He had a foot injury,” Scotland head coach Townsend said. “He’s in a boot and we don’t know how long that will keep him out.

“We’ve had three second-rows injured since we announced the squad, with Richie Gray and Scott Cummings during the week, and now Sam Skinner.

“Richie Gray should be in full training next week. He’s gone through the protocols up to Friday and let’s hope Sam is available for these games as well.”

READ MORE: Gregor Townsend defends Blair Kinghorn and backs the fly-half to bounce back after costly penalty miss against Australia