Gilchrist and Ritchie unveiled as 22/23 co-captains
Scotland internationalists Grant Gilchrist and Jamie Ritchie have today been unveiled as Edinburgh Rugby’s co-captains for the 22/23 season.
The forward duo will share the role for the new campaign, which gets started in three days’ time, as the capital side host Dragons RFC in their BKT URC opener on Saturday evening (17 September, kick-off 7.35pm) at DAM Health Stadium.
Back-row Ritchie, 26, is named co-captain for the very first time in his Edinburgh career and joins Gilchrist, 32, in a joint leadership role, with the experienced lock and club centurion appointed co-captain for the third consecutive season and fourth overall (2016, 2020, 2021, 2022).
The pair are two of Edinburgh’s longest tenured stars, with Gilchrist (175 Edinburgh appearances) entering his 12th season in the capital and Ritchie (85 Edinburgh appearances) his ninth, while both have previously been named in captaincy roles at international level during their respective Scotland careers.
Gilchrist (55 caps) was named Scotland captain during the recent Summer Tour to South America, while Ritchie (32 caps) was chosen to captain Scotland for the 2021 Summer Tests in Georgia and Romania – with both games cancelled due to the impact of the covid pandemic – but the back-row did co-captain his country alongside Ali Price in last Autumn’s Test match against Tonga.
Both players have been at the club their entire careers and now gear up to co-captain their boyhood team on the eve of BKT URC season kick-off.
Gilchrist said: “I’m really proud to have been named co-captain alongside Jamie this year. It’s hard for me to put into words what Edinburgh Rugby means to me.
“It’s been such a big part of my life. Living in Edinburgh with my family, we have such a connection to the people and the city – so to be named as co-captain is such an honour.
The lock continued: “I look at the list of captains who’ve come before me in both the amateur and pro eras and there are so many guys there that I look up to.
“Building that connection with our past is something that I’m really passionate about it and motivates me to play – it’s such a great feeling to be up there as co-captain.”
Former Howe of Fife RFC, Madras College and Strathallan School standout Ritchie has been one of the club’s most consistent performers since signing a senior deal straight out of high school aged just 17-years-old.
The former Scotland U20 captain came off the bench to make his senior team debut in Dublin against Leinster in October 2014 and has never looked back.
The back-row was named in Gregor Townsend’s Scotland squad for the 2018 Summer Tour to Canada, USA and Argentina and made his international debut at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.
Ritchie was one of Scotland’s standout performers during the 2019 Six Nations campaign and that form continued into Rugby World Cup 2019, where an impressive showing in defeat to Japan rubber-stamped his status as one of World Rugby’s up-and-coming stars.
Ritchie then committed his long-term future to the club in January 2021.
Ritchie said: “I’m extremely proud to be named as co-captain. Edinburgh Rugby is a club that means so much to me. It’s been a massive part of my entire adult life, as I’ve been here since I was 17 years old.
“I’m hugely excited to be working with Gilco [Grant Gilchrist]. We have a great relationship. We share lifts into training in the morning and he’s been here for my entire time at the club.
“His experience will be invaluable for me to learn from. He’s a real Edinburgh Rugby legend and I’m massively excited to be named co-captain alongside him.
“It’s a true honour to be selected as captain with Gilco and I’m absolutely buzzing to get going.”
Head Coach Mike Blair – who captained the club in both 2009 and 2010 – added: “We’re delighted to appoint Grant and Jamie as our 22/23 co-captains – they both epitomise what it means to play for Edinburgh Rugby.
“They are two of the most consistent and committed players we have at the club, while they command respect across the dressing room because of the way they lead by example.
“I’d like to also mention Stuart [McInally] alongside our co-captains. Although he doesn’t have an official captaincy title this season, he will continue to play a significant role in our leadership group – he’s an outstanding player and man.
“It’s a massive season for the club as we celebrate our 150th anniversary and our proud heritage has so often been exemplified by the captains that have never wavered in their pride to play for Edinburgh.”