Darge eager for Scotstoun return
A Scotstoun return has been a long time coming for Rory Darge.
Not since last September has the openside run out at the home of the Warriors for a competitive match, a long-term ankle injury sustained against Cardiff in the opening home fixture of the 2022/23 BKT United Rugby Championship having consigned him to four months of rehab and watching on from the stands.
Having successfully come through his return to action in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon, however, it’s safe to say Darge has just one target on his mind – and his enthusiasm for a run-out on Friday night against Zebre Parma is clear as soon as you mention the possibility.
“The atmosphere even at that early stage in the season was absolutely incredible,” Darge told glasgowwarriors.org while reflecting on his one home appearance to date this campaign.
“Coming out of the tunnel to the noise of the crowd, Enter Sandman over the tannoy, it was just unreal.
“It was a feeling that I’d been missing for a long time before that, and it’s a feeling that I’ve definitely missed experiencing while I’ve been injured. I can’t wait to hopefully get back out there and feel it again on Friday night.”
Despite a typically energetic performance upon making his comeback, the flanker was unable to prevent the Warriors slipping to a first loss in 11 matches at the hands of the Emirates Lions.
Whilst defeat was a disappointing pill for Franco Smith and his squad to swallow, a now match-hardened Darge is keen to underline the resolve with which the Warriors are seeking to right their wrongs under the Friday night lights.
“The body’s feeling pretty good,” said Darge.
“The medics and S&C team had put me into good shape to get back out there on Saturday, so I wasn’t even thinking about my ankle when I was out there – I just wanted to get stuck in. It was a tough match to make your comeback in, for sure!
“The heat and the altitude made things tough, but neither of those things are factors we’re using as excuses. We lost that game because of our own errors, and we know what we need to do to put things right this weekend.
“The good thing for us is that everything we need to improve is within our own control. When you look through the review sessions, it’s stuff like our off-the-ball work, getting set early in both attack and defence, and working hard for each other – those are all things that we can control and influence ourselves.”
Whilst a 45-17 victory over this weekend’s visitors in the reverse fixture in Parma back in early December will fill the Warrior Nation with confidence, there will ne no underestimating the Italian outfit by those stepping out onto the field come Friday night.
For Darge, the message is clear – trust the Glasgow way.
“The mindset and how we want to play has been working for us throughout the season, so we know nothing is broken,” said the flanker.
“We know that Zebre are a dangerous team, despite where they sit in the table. They’ll have a go from anywhere, and they’ll target our breakdown and try and disrupt our ball whenever they have a chance. That puts the onus on us as ball-carriers, because it’s our job to put ourselves on the front foot.
“It’s now down to us to go out there on Friday – we want to go out give a true reflection of ourselves.”