The start of the Guinness PRO12 season is just under three weeks away, and Edinburgh back row Jamie Ritchie is desperate to build on a breakout year.
The flanker from Dundee, who turns 20 this month, is aiming to build on his 16 appearances in all competitions, and is looking at the No.6 shirt as the one in which he could make his mark.
The opening in the position is a result of Mike Coman’s move to London Irish. While Viliami Fihaki has been signed ostensibly as a direct replacement, Ritchie specialises at blindside – with the Tongan equally comfortable at No.8 – which may help sway Alan Solomons’ team selection.
“There is a lot of competition for places with guys coming in like Villi [Fihaki]. He is a big guy, a big ball carrier and a really nice bloke too,” Ritchie told The Scotsman.
“There are other guys who can fill the role like Maggie [Magnus Bradbury], so the competition is there, it helps us all get better. I would not say I am number one but I think I am in the mix.”
Ritchie enjoyed a strong summer, competing in his third and final World Rugby Under-20 Championship, the highlight of which was Scotland’s first-ever win against Australia at that level.
And having enjoyed unexpected game time a year ago, Ritchie wants to back that up in the forthcoming campaign.
He added: “Coming off the back of the St Andrews training camp we had last year, I was hoping for maybe a few games, not as many as I got though. I was delighted to be involved as much as I was last year and hope to repeat and push on this year.”
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