In a brief but candid announcement in St. Andrews Andy Robinson sat beside his new captain, Ross Ford, and let him address the press.
There was an open admission that Kelly Brown had been intended to captain the side for the entire tournament but Robinson made it clear that his leader would be, unlike at the World Cup, someone who would start every game.
“I told Ross and a number of the squad last week that I’d asked Kelly to be captain, and that Kelly had accepted” Robinson revealed. “Obviously the injury occurred [Brown will have an operation, ruling him out of the tournament] and one of the players that I’ve been considering over the last three months was Ross, along with a number of others. I was delighted to ask Ross to captain the side. It is for the whole 6 Nations.
“He has performed outstandingly well for Scotland and for Edinburgh over the last couple of years. He has been within the leadership group and his leadership has developed very well in the way that he’s spoken, particularly in the areas of defence, but also around the set-piece.
“I’m delighted he was keen to take this challenge on.”
To his right sat a relaxed Ford, grinning, with his cup of tea, happy to field questions about what it was like to face a press pack as Scotland’s new captain.
The Kelso born British and Irish Lion smiled and said “When I started this leadership role within the squad I said that I like to lead by example. That’s the way I’ll be doing it as captain.
“Obviously there’s a little bit more speaking to do, but I’m happy with that. That’s what I’ve been developing over the last couple of years. I’ll try and speak more with clear points that help us go forward, but in the main I’ll be trying to lead by example. As Andy says, there is a lot of experience round about me so during the game I can have a chat with half-backs and others boys on the pitch and see how they feel the game is going.
“A few years ago I might have been a little bit apprehensive but now I’m at the stage where I feel very comfortable doing it. I’m confident in my abilities and what I’ve got to say.”
Ford will have to prove this in his first test as Captain against the Auld Enemy, but there will be no need for motivation in the eagerly anticipated fixture. No need for grand speeches. Robinson alluded to his previous comments about “some players” within the England camp being arrogant and not playing rugby in the right spirit. The game should not lack for Spirit.
In the meantime Robinson and Ford will pour over the squad which now has Jon Welsh joining in to cover for Al Dickinson and Ed Kalman, who are both carrying knocks, and there are set to be calls to replace Kelly Brown and potentially Steve Shingler.
That squad will then be split with some preparing for the ‘A’ game against the England Saxons, and the rest will focus on the Calcutta Cup.
Robinson says that he wants to unlock Ford’s potential with this captaincy. Here’s hoping he can unlock Scotland’s potential, too, without too much need for screaming.