Edinburgh Rugby: Mike Blair backs Connor Boyle to emulate Rory Darge’s progress as he gets off the mark

Born four days apart and playing in the same position, it was perhaps inevitable that Connor Boyle and Rory Darge got lumped together as they came through the ranks together at Edinburgh.

Darge’s switch to Glasgow Warriors last spring turbo-charged his progress and he made his Scotland debut in this year’s Six Nations after a string of outstanding performances for his club.

Boyle’s career has been a slower burn but he is now beginning to establish himself as a key player for Edinburgh, and coach Mike Blair is backing him to have as big an impact as Darge.

Boyle, 22, has been involved in Edinburgh’s last eight games, starting six of them, and scored his first tries for the club with a double in the 54-5 win over Pau on Friday.

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“He has been outstanding over this whole period,” said Blair. “He has really stood up. It is a really interesting comparison with him and Rory Darge.

“Both were sevens at the club and one of them had to go to balance the young sevens out. We know what Rory Darge has gone on to do. There is real belief at the club that Connor can go and do similar things. He probably took longer to bed himself into it but we have certainly seen in this period what Connor can bring to the team.”

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Openside flanker is a position of strength for Edinburgh, with the peerless Hamish Watson out in front. Luke Crosbie is also a Scotland international, so it’s hardly surprising that Boyle has had to be patient.

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Edinburgh's Connor Boyle is at full strength to score a first half try against Pau. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

“It is a difficult position to break into,” acknowledged Blair. “They have got to bide their time. Rory went straight in and played games at Glasgow and showed there what he can do and likewise Connor has shown what he can do after a run of games.”

Boyle and Darge both captained Scotland Under-20 and the former is proud of what his ex-team-mate has achieved at Glasgow. Boyle’s aim now is to further establish himself as Edinburgh challenge in the URC and Challenge Cup.

“It is nice to see Rory doing so well as we are good friends but I am trying to just focus on myself and play well for this club,” said Boyle. “They have stuck by me and I have some stuff to pay back.”

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Connor Boyle has played eight games in a row for Edinburgh. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
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