Updated: Six Nations: Dave Cherry added to Scotland squad ahead of Wales clash

Forwards coach John Dalziel says Rory Darge is a contender to replace injured Jamie Ritchie

Dave Cherry has been called up to Scotland's Six Nations training squad. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Dave Cherry has been called up to Scotland's Six Nations training squad. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

EDINBURGH hooker Dave Cherry has been added to Scotland’s Six Nations training squad ahead of this weekend’s trip to Cardiff to play Wales.

The 31-year-old made his Scotland debut off the bench in last year’s Calcutta Cup victory at Twickenham and went on to play a role in all five matches during the 2021 Six Nations campaign, but did not feature during the Autumn and wasn’t named in the initial 39-man training squad ahead of this year’s championship.

Forwards coach John Dalziel stressed that Cherry’s call-up is not to a response to one of the three hookers name in the initial squad – George Turner (who played the first 51 minutes of Saturday’s victory over England), Stuart McInally (who played 29 minutes off the bench) and Ewan Ashman – being a doubt.


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“Everybody’s fine” said Dalziel. “David was going to join up with us last week. Obviously, we’re really lucky with the depth we have at hooker at the moment. Dave was a huge part of the Six Nations last year, came in and played wonderfully.

“We had Fraser Brown in at the weekend as well. We want to try and get everybody involved at some point and not wait until there’s an injury or a concern. We want these guys to have an understanding the systems and how if differs from the club they’re playing at, to make sure that when called upon and needed we have six or seven hookers available that can come in and do a job.

Flanker Jamie Ritchie (hamstring/groin) was the only injury concern reported by head coach on Saturday evening. He has not linked up with the squad this week, and fellow back-rower Josh Bayliss of Bath is still missing following a concussion.

It is not clear at this stage how long either player is likely to be out for, but Dalziel did suggest that Bayliss could feature at some point in the Six Nations while Ritchie appears to be looking at a longer stint on the sidelines.

“It’s to do with the back of his hamstring and possibly down to a slippery pitch,” said the coach of Ritchie’s situation. “He went backwards and almost did the splits. He felt something go in the back of the leg and was strapped pretty quickly.

“He’s with the medical team at the moment and trying to find out what’s happened. We will find out and see what his return looks like. Hopefully it’s not too bad and we can get him back as soon as possible.

“He’s had his scan and we’ve got the results, so it is just a case of talking through that and seeing how long he is going to be missing for.”

On Bayliss, he said: “It was one of those complex ones that had a little bit more symptoms, so we want to be careful with that. It’s been a couple of weeks, and with movement and travel when you’re dealing with that it’s better just for Josh to stay where his medical team are. Hopefully he’ll be back to play some part in the Six Nations, possibly post Wales, we’ve got a week off and everything should be tidied up after that.”

Dalziel stressed that while the loss of Ritchie is a set-back, it is not disastrous for the squad given the strength in depth he believes is at Scotland’s disposal in this area.

Magnus Bradbury came off the bench in Ritchie’s place on Saturday, however, Sam Skinner‘s line-out ability might make him a better like-for-like replacement. Edinburgh’s Nick Haining and Andy Christie of Saracens are two other options, while Dalziel suggested that uncapped Rory Darge of Glasgow Warriors could also be an option, despite almost all of his senior rugby being as an out-and-out No 7.

“Rory Darge has been outstanding form, hasn’t he? That’s the thing, in terms of players who are on form its so close,” said Dalziel.. “We’ve got options around there, Magnus Bradbury, [and] options of others who can play at 6. We’ll look at how to develop that tomorrow, in terms of what we feel is the best blend to counter the threat Wales will pose.

“Jamie when he first started was a seven,” he added. “That was the model we went for, having two sevens in the back row. It’s helped Jamie as he’s developed as almost a hybrid player and is useful at the line-out. It’s a strength in Rory Darge’s armoury as well in term of line-out, he gives us that option as well as he’s played a lot at eight [for Scotland under-20s]. In terms of that skill-set, he ticks a box , and that allows Hamish to play as well. We have a lot of different horses for courses.


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About David Barnes 4011 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

7 Comments

  1. Let’s hope Gregor releases a few players to Edinburgh before the weekend or the score v Leinster could be in the Cricket levels !!

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      • Yes, but let’s face it, there are 4 Irish Regions to our 2 and Leinster have more depth than any other team in the Northern Hemisphere … squad size 50+ and a big academy

    • Al – your 4 Regional Teams vs our 2 ProTeams comment quite rightly begs another, entirely bigger question!

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