IT WAS a long drag of a first-cap day for Jamie Ritchie, writes Lewis Stuart. Then, when the evening came and the match started, the game seemed to go by in flash – but not so quickly that he couldn’t take in how much fun it was and spark an appetite for more.

He is likely to get his wish when Gregor Townsend, the Scotland head coach, names his team today to face Argentina in Resistencia on Saturday. His performance in that opening Test in Canada has earned him that right.

The side need to bounce back from their defeat to the USA, and in many positions, that will mean Townsend opting for the tried and tested over the bold and experimental. There are some positions where he does not have that option – flanker is one of them.

That said, Ritchie deserves a second chance after a robust, aggressive performance against Canada, the kind that will help heap the pressure on Hamish Watson, the shoo-in Scotland flanker when he is fit.

“Competition is good; if I can make Hamish [Watson] better, that is a good thing for me as well,” Ritchie said. “I want to put my hand up for selection.

“Hamish is a great player, he has proved that in both an Edinburgh shirt and a Scotland shirt. I have learned a lot from him but it would be good to try to chase him down a wee bit and this is an opportunity with him not being here.

“You just have to look at our body types to see that we are different. Hamish is stockier and good over the ball. I have a height advantage so I am more of a line out option, there are different strings to our bows.”

One reason Ritchie has not put more pressure on his club and international colleague is that he has yet to really establish himself in a single position, having shifted around between the two flanker roles.

“There is not really too much difference [between the two positions] for me. If I play seven a lot, at that time it is probably my best position. If I get to play six a lot, it would change again. I aim to keep that one open,” Ritchie explained.

Yet, next season the club competition is being ratchet up to fever pitch, thanks to a flurry of recruits coming to the Edinburgh back row with Luke Hamilton, who played openside against the USA before damaging his shoulder, the most recent addition, joining a group that also includes John Barclay.

All of which is one reason Ritchie so relished his cap. He had been part of the November training squad but did not break into the team. By the Six Nations he had picked up a few niggling injuries that had restricted his appearances and affected his form.

So the last step to finally make the breakthrough felt as though it had been seven months in the making. “It was a surreal day,” he reflectd. “Though the game seemed to go really quickly, the day seemed to go slowly, dragged a bit. I was trying to distract myself from thinking about it too much. It is one of the things you’ve dreamt about for years.“