SCOTLAND head coach Andy Robinson put his faith in Borders rugby players this week when choosing who he wanted to lead his team in the forthcoming RBS 6 Nations tournament.
A leg injury to Melrose back row man Kelly Brown, playing for Saracens against Benetton Treviso last weekend, cost him the captaincy of Scotland on what would have been his 50th cap for his country.
But, because of this, Ross Ford has been given the opportunity to lead his country out against England next week on what will be a proud moment for the former Kelso player in his 54th international game.
Scan results taken on Brown this week indicate that he will require an operation and will miss the whole of the RBS 6 Nations.
Robinson said: “I asked Kelly last week to lead Scotland, but unfortunately injury will deprive him of that honour. I wish him a speedy recovery. Ross is a man who will step up and lead from the front. This is a special day for him.”
Ford, 27, echoed Robinson’s message for Brown and then reflected on his own elevation to become Scotland’s 112th test match captain.
He said: “It’s a massive honour and privilege to captain your country. I’m really grateful to be given this chance to captain a team of so much potential.”
“First and foremost is ‘do it’, do it for everybody to see, and that’s the way I’ll be looking to lead the team against England.”
Brown said: “I’m gutted to be missing out as it’s hard for me to quantify just how much it means to me to play for Scotland.
“But today I want to offer my wholehearted congratulations to Fordy, who I know will do a great job as captain.
“I’ll also be doing everything I can to assist the boys who are chosen to play for Scotland to get the championship off to a winning start against England.”
Back in the Borders, local clubs are looking to take up their various league challenges following their one-week break.
In Premier A, Melrose and Gala continue their tussle at the top with two tough matches against Boroughmuir (away) and Currie (home) respectively. Despite their recent defeat to Dundee the Greenyards outfit are still three points ahead of nearest rivals Gala, but are under no illusions of the task ahead.
Director of rugby Mike Dalgetty said: “To say that we were disappointed with the Dundee result would be the understatement of the year. We started poorly, but when we clicked it was possibly the best we have played in a few weeks.
“So we must remember the positive part and take it forward. But we have to fix what we did wrong and no doubt that’s what Craig, John and the players will be looking to do against Boroughmuir.”
Gala also suffered a defeat in their first Premier A game of the year and will be looking to put some daylight between themselves and fourth-placed Currie when the two teams clash at Netherdale on Saturday.
Still striving for one of the top two positions in Premier B, Hawick are the only other Borders team at home this week and they take on Edinburgh Accies at Mansfield Park while Jed, who had to postpone their opening fixture, travel to play second placed Heriot’s. Premier C sees Selkirk, Kelso and Peebles travel to Biggar, West of Scotland and Falkirk respectively.