Finn Russell and Rory Darge have been appointed co-captains for Scotland’s Six Nations.  

They take over the captaincy from Jamie Ritchie, with head coach Gregor Townsend saying the move will allow the Edinburgh back-row to “focus more on his game and deliver his best rugby” during the championship.  

Ritchie’s game-time has been limited since the Rugby World Cup – and after Townsend stated he needed to prove his form and fitness, the 27-year-old played just over half an hour of Edinburgh’s win over Scarlets on Friday.  

Both Darge – who is currently sidelined with a knee injury – and Russell have captained Scotland already this season, with 15-cap Darge leading the side to a World Cup warm-up win over Italy.  

Russell captained his country for the first time in the comeback win over France at Murrayfield.  

Gregor Townsend said: “Appointing co-captains for this year’s Guinness Six Nations allows us to further grow and develop the leadership within the squad. 
“Rory and Finn captained Scotland last summer and bring different strengths and styles of leadership to the table. 

“Both are highly respected within our squad and have been part of our leadership group for some time. I’m sure they will thrive with this responsibility and lean on our other leaders to drive certain aspects of our preparation, mindset and performance.” 

Darge said: “I enjoyed captaining the team last summer and immediately felt proud when Gregor told me the news. 
“To co-captain your country is a tremendous honour and to do it alongside a guy like Finn who is respected across the game and such a talented player will be great for me. 
“Everyone in our leadership group plays a vital role and we all have strengths that will take the team forward. 

“This year’s Guinness Six Nations represents a chance for us to continue to progress as a group and everyone is looking forward to that first game against Wales”.
Fly-half Russell said: “Playing for Scotland is a huge honour and to co-captain the side is a privilege and something I am proud of. 
“We have such a talented squad and to lead them alongside Rory represents a massive opportunity. I can’t wait to get started with this year’s championship. 

“Rory has been a key player for us since he made his debut and leads by example during matches and in training.  

“We’ll both have different leadership styles which will complement each other and ultimately benefit the team as we go into the tournament.” 
Scotland will go into the Six Nations without wing Darcy Graham, who has been ruled out for “at least the first two games” with a quad injury. Great Britain 7s player Ross McCann, who played twice for Edinburgh at the start of this season, has been added to the squad. 

Graham picked up the injury in last weekend’s defeat to Gloucester and, while he completed that match, he missed the trip to Scarlets. 

It leaves Townsend short in the back three, with another Edinburgh man, Harry Paterson, also missing the trip to Wales with a shoulder injury.  

Kyle Steyn’s return for Glasgow on Friday night – his first rugby since the World Cup – could not have been timed better with news of Graham’s injury, while Townsend can also call upon Lions wing Duhan van der Merwe, one-cap Glasgow man Kyle Rowe and uncapped Sale Shark Arron Reed.