Ross Ford, the 27-year-old Edinburgh Rugby hooker, was today appointed Scotland captain for the opening match of the RBS 6 Nations Championship – against England at Murrayfield on Saturday week.
Ford, the 53-times-capped product of Kelso High School, a British and Irish Lion in South Africa in 2009, was hailed by head coach Andy Robinson as a “man who will step up and lead from the front.”
Robinson confirmed today that his original intention had been to bestow the captaincy on Ford’s fellow Borderer, back-row forward, Kelly Brown.
Brown, however, was injured in Heineken Cup action for his club, Saracens, against Benetton Treviso at the weekend.
Robinson said: “This is a special day for Ross, who has been a key figure in our leadership group and our most consistent performer for some time. I firmly believe he is the man who will step up and lead from the front.
“That said, I’m really disappointed for Kelly Brown. I had asked him to be the captain late last week but unfortunately injury will deprive him of that honour and the chance to lead out his country for his 50th cap. I wish him a speedy recovery.”
Scotland team doctor James Robson said: “Following the scans that Kelly underwent yesterday and consultation with a knee specialist, Kelly will require a small operation to stabilise the fibula head in his leg – which he dislocated. The surgery will facilitate his recovery.
“This will be undertaken in the next seven to ten days once the initial swelling has settled. The return from an injury of this nature is, typically, in the region of eight to ten weeks.”
Ford echoed Robinson’s message for Brown and then reflected on his own elevation to become Scotland’s 112th Test match captain.
“It’s a massive honour and privilege to captain your country. I’m really grateful to be given this chance to captain a team of so much potential,” he told www.scottishrugby.org
“For me, the big thing is leading from the front and actually showing a good example to the boys as well as backing it up with words.
“First and foremost is ‘do it’, do it for everybody to see, and that’s the way I’ll be looking to lead the team against England.”
Brown said: “I’m gutted to be missing out as it’s hard for me to quantify just how much it means to me to play for Scotland.
“But today I want to offer my whole-hearted congratulations to Fordy who I know will do a great job as captain.
“I’ll also be doing everything I can to assist the boys who are chosen to play for Scotland to get the championship off to a winning start against England.”
Meanwhile, five other players continued their recovery from injuries and did not train with the Scotland squad at St Andrews today – props Alasdair Dickinson (shoulder) and Ed Kalman (calf), back-row forward David Denton and stand-off Ruaridh Jackson (hamstring) and full-back/wing Rory Lamont (leg bruising).
Jon Welsh, the uncapped 25-year-old Glasgow Warriors prop, has been added to the Scotland squad and he trained at St Andrews today.
Scotland’s opening match in the 2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship – against England at Murrayfield on Saturday 4 February – is already sold-out. However if you want to savour the special atmosphere of match day at Murrayfield, tickets are still available from £17.50 for students and children and £35 for adults for the Scotland v France RBS 6 Nations match on Sunday 26 February, kick-off 3pm. Tickets are available on our website www.scottishrugby.org , via the 24 hour credit card hotline on 0844 335 3933 or in person from the Scottish Rugby Ticket Centre at Murrayfield Stadium, which is open this weekend from 9am-4pm.