Jamie Ritchie opens up on Scotland-Argentina brawl - 'he's my wee mate so I look after him'

Darcy Graham’s value to Scotland is so high that it’s no wonder Jamie Ritchie rushed in to protect him at Murrayfield.

The little winger is in the form of his life and bagged a hat-trick of tries in the 52-29 win over Argentina. But he was also in the thick of a 20-man brawl which ended up with yellow cards being shown to Scotland captain Ritchie and Argentine prop Thomas Gallo.

As tempers frayed, the diminutive Graham found himself face to face with giant Pumas lock Lucas Paulos before Ritchie stepped in to help. “I just saw someone going for Darcy. He’s my wee mate so I look after him,” explained the skipper.

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In truth, it was like something out of the wild west as the players squared up to each other, and there were a couple of side skirmishes going on as well. At least it showed the Scotland players had each other’s backs even if it did make life difficult for match referee Karl Dickson and his team of officials.

Scotland's Jamie Ritchie was involved in almighty brawl during the second half of the win against Argentina.Scotland's Jamie Ritchie was involved in almighty brawl during the second half of the win against Argentina.
Scotland's Jamie Ritchie was involved in almighty brawl during the second half of the win against Argentina.

Graham, already two tries to the good by that point, recovered his poise and completed his hat-trick in the final minutes. Following on from his score against the All Blacks last week and his brilliant start to the season with Edinburgh, the Hawick man is showing that kind of irresistible form that has supporters off their seats.

“He’s just on fire,” said Ritchie. “He is playing with such confidence. In any one-on-one I just expect him to beat the other man. He is so fast, so quick to change direction. And he is deceptively strong for his size. That in a package is awesome. He is electric to watch and I love playing with him.”

The result against Argentina makes it two wins and two defeats for Scotland from their Autumn Nations Series and Ritchie’s verdict on his team is “mixed”. The Scots opened with a narrow defeat by Australia, then laboured to a win over Fiji before playing some of their best rugby of the campaign in the 31-23 loss to New Zealand. They finished with a flourish and the victory over Argentina saw them score eight tries and post a record number of points against the Pumas.

“Results aside, I’ve been really proud about how we have prepared for games, the messaging around it, and how we have stuck to our guns in what we have said we were going to do,” said Ritchie who took over the captaincy from Stuart Hogg at the start of the autumn campaign.

“In the first game we spoke about fighting to get moments back and I think we did that well. In the New Zealand game we spoke about being courageous, and I think we did that. Today we spoke about being relentless and we put 50 points on the board. I’m really pleased with how we did what we said we would do.”

Ritchie praised stand-off Finn Russell for the way he has integrated back into the team after being left out for the first two matches.

“Finn slotted back in seamlessly. We all love him so there was no need for him to say anything to him. He’s pretty experienced in this environment and we are a pretty close-knit bunch.”