Scotland star Ritchie in race to be fit for Six Nations opener

London (AFP) –


Key Scottish flanker Jamie Ritchie should know by this weekend whether he has a chance of playing in Scotland's Six Nations opening game with champions England, head coach Gregor Townsend said on Wednesday.

Ritchie is undergoing the return to play protocols after suffering a head injury in training with his club Edinburgh earlier this month.

The 24-year-old shone in last year's Six Nations, being named man of the match in the victories over France and Wales.

Speaking at the Six Nations launch -- which was conducted virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic -- Townsend said Ritchie had taken part in non-contact areas on Wednesday.

A fit Ritchie would be a huge boost to the Scots for the Calcutta Cup match on February 6, an encounter that Townsend regards as "the biggest game every year for us."

"We are 10 days away from the game," said Townsend.

"If Jamie continues to make progress this week, we have another training session on Friday, then we're into full weeks prep.

"By the weekend we should be in a much better position to see if he can play in that game."

Townsend said there are encouraging signs and Ritchie himself feels better.

"We are confident enough that he is making progress," said Townsend.

"He feels much better about where he is. He ran yesterday (Tuesday) and had no reaction, did skill work today and has been involved in a lot of the sessions. We will just wait and see.

"It is obvious that returning from head injuries sometimes takes longer, but we will be monitoring him each day."