Darge keen to build on impressive beginnings with new Glasgow deal

Darge keen to build on impressive beginnings with new Glasgow deal

The hottest prospect in Scottish rugby is ready to take his game to the next level at Scotstoun, after Rory Darge put pen to paper on a new and improved long-term contract with Glasgow Warriors.

Still just 22, the openside flanker has been a revelation in black and blue since arriving at the club in April 2021, a series of outstanding performances making him one of the most talked-about players in northern hemisphere rugby in the last 12 months.

The North Berwick RFC product has been a mainstay ever since arriving at the Warriors, making 15 appearances to date for Danny Wilson’s side and becoming a firm fan favourite through the work ethic that has been present throughout his rise from grassroots to the professional arena.

All bar one of those outings have come as part of the starting XV, with the flanker initially turning heads in the 2021 Guinness Rainbow Cup with first a totemic display against former club Edinburgh, then a Player of the Match-winning performance in a bonus-point win over the Dragons last May.

His remarkable run of form has shown no signs of abating in the 2021/22 campaign, becoming one of the most consistently high-performing athletes across both the United Rugby Championship.

In a competition filled with high-quality back-rowers, Darge has frequently been making the headlines; a Player of the Match-winning performance against Ulster in the opening round – despite his side slipping to a narrow defeat – served notice of his quality, whilst his tally of 22 defenders beaten in the competition is more than any other back-rower aside from team-mate Jack Dempsey and Stormers number eight Evan Roos.

In Europe, too, Darge’s all-action style has been eye-catching. A barnstorming performance in the 22-7 victory over Exeter at Scotstoun last December had pundits and supporters alike purring with approval, before a similarly outstanding shift in the reverse fixture cemented his position as one to watch ahead of the Guinness Six Nations.

That focus was proved to be well-aimed, with his form earning the former Scotland U20 captain a senior international debut off the bench against Wales, before marking his first international start with a try in the clash with France at BT Murrayfield.

Such has been Darge’s impact in a Glasgow shirt, the flanker has claimed the McCrea Financial Services Warrior of the Month award on three of the six occasions it has been handed out since his arrival at Scotstoun.

“The last year has gone by so quickly,” a smiling Darge told glasgowwarriors.org.

“From my debut for Glasgow, to my first URC game, to my first European game and now to my Scotland debut, it’s been unbelievable.

“It was a really easy decision to commit my future to this club. I’m loving life at Scotstoun. I knew a few of the boys before making the move across last year, especially guys like Rufus [McLean], Ross [Thompson] and Ollie [Smith] that I came through the age grades with, but everyone’s been so good with me. I’ve settled in so quickly and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

“All the guys in the back-row have been a massive help to me, in particular. Ryan Wilson as co-captain has been a big influence, but there’s also guys like Thomas Gordon, Jack Dempsey, Matt Fagerson – all these guys help me to push on and aim to be the best I can be. Danny [Wilson] and Nigel [Carolan] have been helping me develop my work at the contact and in attack, too, and I can’t wait to keep developing at this club.

“The URC is such a brilliant competition to develop my game in, too. To be able to test myself against World Cup winners on the South African teams, the top quality guys from the Irish teams at the top of the league and the best that Wales and Italy have to offer, that’s such a massive boost for both myself and the club. We want to be challenging at the top and it shows us the standard that we need to be at.”

Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Danny Wilson was understandably delighted to tie up the services of the highly-rated back-rower, saying: “We’re thrilled to secure Rory’s long-term future at the club.

“He’s been impressive from the minute he stepped into the building last April, displaying an outstanding level of professionalism and calmness for such a young player.

“Every challenge that has been put in front of him so far, he has embraced and his performances for both us and Scotland showcase his work rate and skill set.

“For Rory to be a Glasgow Warrior for the long-term is very exciting and we’re looking forward to continuing to watch him develop and grow in the jersey.”

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