Gregor Townsend has handed the Scotland captaincy to Edinburgh Rugby’s Luke Crosbie – one year after he was originally due to lead out his country.
Crosbie, 25, will skipper a Scotland A team against Chile in Santiago on Saturday as they begin their month-long tour of South America.
Head coach Townsend revealed that Crosbie was pencilled in to be captain in the A international against England 12 months ago before the game was cancelled due to a Covid-19 outbreak.
Townsend said of Crosbie, who has one senior Scotland cap: “He is a leader by example – the way he plays, the way he trains. He is very proud to represent Scotland.
“He has had captaincy experience at Edinburgh this year. A year ago he was due to be captain in our A game against England that was unfortunately cancelled.
“We thought highly of him then and we think very highly of him now.
“Luke missed the Six Nations through injury but he has bounced back from that really well and I thought he was one of the form players at the end of the season.”
Scotland will field a team that is largely inexperienced at test match level against Chile, with the uncapped Ollie Smith, Matt Currie and Ben Muncaster all starting.
The Chile rugby team, known at Los Condores, are ranked 23rd in the world but are preparing for play-off games that could see them qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Townsend said they will present his men with a stiff physical challenge.
The Scotland boss said: “I expect a high standard, a standard that has got them very close to being a World Cup team.
“They have beaten Russia and Canada on their way to their play-off game against the USA in two weeks time.
“They have a lot of players involved in the South American professional championship and beat the Jaguares, Argentinian pro side. They played some really good rugby within that.
“They will be strong at set piece, strong at scrum and very physical. From what we have seen they will be really aggressive in defence and look to jackal – so very similar to what we will get against Argentina in the next few weeks.”
Meanwhile Townsend welcomed the news that Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson has extended his stay at Murrayfield until at least 2025.
Townsend said: “Mark has been a big supporter of the national team and also the professional teams.
“He is a big believer that if the pro teams and the national teams have success then that trickles down to other areas and brings in investment that can be spread throughout Scottish rugby.
“He has been a big catalyst in that change in mindset over the last ten years.
“We have got a good relationship – we won’t always agree on things but we respect each other’s views and he wants success for all our teams.”