Jamie Ritchie losing the Scotland captaincy shows the depth available to Gregor Townsend in the back-row, according to Ritchie’s Edinburgh team-mate Luke Crosbie.  

Now shorn of the captaincy, Ritchie will be one of the players Crosbie has to find a way in front of if he’s to add to his seven caps.  

The Livingston-born 26-year-old said that is just part of the “crazy” competition in the back-row.  

As well as Ritchie and Crosbie, Bath's Josh Bayliss and Saracens' Andy Christie will be vying with co-captain Rory Darge and Matt Fagerson for a place on the flanks against Wales next weekend.

“There are always loads of options in the back-row, but that’s the way it is. It is always a highly competitive position but that’s what gets the best out of me because you come into camp and can’t switch off.  

“Every gym session, every training session, you need to be on point to get in that team, and then when you are handed the jersey you need to make sure that you are performing to keep it because you’ll easily be dropped out the team.” 

Since his debut against Tonga in 2021, Crosbie has had his fair share of personal disappointments. Not least during last year’s championship where he was left out for the games against France, Italy and Ireland despite helping Scotland to a Calcutta Cup triumph at Twickenham and a record success over Wales.  

"It just shows how tough it is,” he said.  

“I started England away and won, then again against Wales at home which was a big win, so it was good, but then I got rotated out the team and I can’t control that. 

“In both those games I thought I played well, but that’s international sport. That’s what I’m saying, you don’t really know what is going to happen so it is a bit of a waste for me thinking too far ahead. 

“I’ve worked really hard to get to this point now, so every time I’m out on the field, I am just going to enjoy it and keep on playing to the best of my ability. 

Crosbie has played across the back-row for Edinburgh this season – including at number eight – and he hopes that versatility could help him win a place in the matchday 23 to play Wales next weekend.  

“It definitely helps if you can cover all three positions in the back-row. It means you can slot in. So, if you’ve got an out and out seven on the pitch, and you are on the bench with the ability to cover eight, you are not putting the team under stress. It is definitely an advantage.” 

Crosbie says whatever number he’s given to wear, he’ll not divert too far away from his trademark physicality.  

“I just stick to my game – get that go-forward ball for the team and in terms of in the tackle I just want to make the attack coach of the other team to have a nightmare, that’s the way I think of it.” 

The Edinburgh man said he is excited about the championship, and the prospect of playing in front of a full house at the Principalty Stadium next weekend. 

“I don’t think too far ahead in terms of the international stuff coming up, but when it comes round it comes round pretty quick, so it just exciting getting into the campaign.”