Edinburgh hooker Ross Ford has been appointed as Scotland captain for their first Six Nations match against England in the absence of his injured teammate, loose forward Kelly Brown.
The 27-year-old, who has 53 Test caps and went on the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa in 2009, was hailed by Scotland head coach Andy Robinson as a "man who will step up and lead from the front."
Robinson revealed that Brown, who plays for English Premiership champions Saracens, had been his first choice for the position but was ruled out after suffering an injury in his team's Heineken Cup clash with Treviso on Sunday.
However, despite this disappointment Robinson said that he has every confidence in Ford who he believes will lead the team with distinction against England.
He said: "This is a special day for Ross, who has been a key figure in our leadership group and our most consistent performer for some time. I firmly believe he is the man who will step up and lead from the front.
"That said, I'm really disappointed for Kelly Brown. I had asked him to be the captain late last week but unfortunately injury will deprive him of that honour and the chance to lead out his country for his 50th cap. I wish him a speedy recovery," Robinson added.
Scotland team doctor James Robson said: "Following the scans that Kelly underwent yesterday and consultation with a knee specialist, Kelly will require a small operation to stabilise the fibula head in his leg – which he dislocated. The surgery will facilitate his recovery.
"This will be undertaken in the next seven to ten days once the initial swelling has settled. The return from an injury of this nature is, typically, in the region of eight to ten weeks," he explained.
Ford echoed Robinson's message for Brown and then reflected on his own elevation to become Scotland's 112th Test match captain.
"It's a massive honour and privilege to captain your country. I'm really grateful to be given this chance to captain a team of so much potential," he said. "For me, the big thing is leading from the front and actually showing a good example to the boys as well as backing it up with words.
"First and foremost is 'do it', do it for everybody to see, and that's the way I'll be looking to lead the team against England."
Brown said: "I'm gutted to be missing out as it's hard for me to quantify just how much it means to me to play for Scotland. But today I want to offer my whole-hearted congratulations to Fordy who I know will do a great job as captain.
"I'll also be doing everything I can to assist the boys who are chosen to play for Scotland to get the championship off to a winning start against England," he added.
Meanwhile, five other players continued their recovery from injuries and did not train with the Scotland squad on Wednesday – props Alasdair Dickinson (shoulder) and Ed Kalman (calf), loose forward David Denton and stand-off Ruaridh Jackson (hamstring) and outside back Rory Lamont (leg bruising).
Jon Welsh, the uncapped 25-year-old Glasgow Warriors prop, has also been added to the Scotland squad.
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