Co-captain Rory Darge 'completely on track' in bid for Scotland return

Rory Darge in action for Scotland against Ireland at 2023 Rugby World Cup Rory Darge is hoping to be fit for Scotland's game against Wales on Saturday (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Rory Darge has “progressed brilliantly” as he bids to shake off a knee injury ahead of the Six Nations opening weekend, according to Scotland assistant coach John Dalziel.

The Glasgow flanker is hoping to be fit for Scotland’s game against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday after suffering a knee strain against Edinburgh at the end of December.

Dalziel said: “It was great to have Rory back in last week, with the support of his club and national team medical team, to get him assessed. He is completely on track.

“We have put no time scales on it, we just want to try and make sure he is available for either game one or game two.

“He has progressed brilliantly and run well today (Tuesday) as well, so there will be a decision on that, whether it’s this week or next weekend.”

The 23-year-old forward was named co-captain along with Finn Russell ahead of the tournament after Jamie Ritchie was taken out of the position. But Dalziel stressed there was a collective responsibility in the squad.

“There’s always been a shared leadership no matter who our captain is,” the forwards coach said from Scotland’s training camp in Spain. “We rely heavily on the leadership group.

“Somebody with Rory Darge’s talent, being a young man doesn’t go against him, he has always been part of that leadership group. We feel the next stage for him is to take a bit more on his shoulders.

“With Finn, we have the key strengths of what Finn brings as a rugby player but also his knowledge of the game, he leads in a different way. We look at that contrast. And it also frees Finn up to lead in meetings and chat more about the bigger picture.

“The blend is excellent but these two guys are supported as well by guys like Jamie Ritchie, past captains, Grant Gilchrist. Our leadership group is strong and we have to grow that base so we can have leaders come together in key moments in Test matches or training to make sure we get back on track, not just one voice.

“It’s really tough now in the modern game to have all that weighing on one person.”

Scotland lost WP Nel for the Cardiff trip earlier in the week because of a neck injury, with Javan Sebastian fit enough to come into the pool after a knee problem. Nel could feature soon though as he is close to fitness.

Dalziel said: “Disappointed obviously, we know WP very well and we know what he is capable of. But he is touch and go with the neck not settling down in enough time so we don’t want to rush him.

“We have a good opportunity with Javan returning to fitness to have a settled selection around that as well.

“Like all props, it’s a constant battle, your neck, you don’t take any risks with that. It’s not like any other injury where you might go ‘I’ll batter on with that, we can find a way round it’. With necks, we never take any risks now.”

Dalziel added they had “absolutely no concerns” over Ben White’s fitness after he recovered from a knock picked up while playing for Toulon.

More Scotland Six Nations Rugby News >