His brother plays for Hearts but it’s rugby all the way for Glasgow Warriors Rory Darge
His brother signed for Hearts but it was rugby all the way for Rory Darge growing up in East Lothian.
He probably would have had one already had Covid and injury not intervened but it is surely a matter when not if for the 21-year-old.
He was called up by Scotland for the summer and autumn Tests but saw the former scrapped due to coronavirus and was then forced to pull out of the latter because of an ankle injury. It was tough to take but he takes a philosophical approach.
“Nobody’s entitled to be playing international rugby and I obviously got myself to a point where the coaches were going to give me an opportunity so it’s exciting and I’m not too gutted,” he said. “I can take it.”
Darge's move from Edinburgh to Glasgow last season galvanised his career, affording him the playing opportunities he never got in the capital, and he will be a key player in the Warriors side which lines up against La Rochelle away in the Heineken Champions Cup on Sunday.
While the openside flanker goes from strength to strength, younger brother Arron is making steady progress at Hearts.
A talented centre-half who represented Scotland at under-16 level, he was on the bench for the Tynecastle club for the League Cup tie against East Fife earlier this season. The 18-year-old has now been loaned out to Lowland League club Gala Fairydean Rovers.
“He’s enjoying it,” said Rory. “He’s been at Hearts since he was 16 and he’s turning 19 in April. He’s on loan at Gala Fairydean and getting some adult football.
“My dad played football and a lot of the rest of the family were all footballers but I was never really that interested. I played a little when I was young, and boxing and swimming were the two other sports that interested me. But it was always rugby. I stopped boxing when I was about 15 and just focused on rugby from there.”
Rory is one one of a number of players to emerge into pro rugby from North Berwick. Cammy Hutchison signed a new deal with Edinburgh last week while the likes of Lewis Carmichael, Chris Dean and Callum Hunter-Hill all grew up in the town.
“I loved my rugby there,” said Darge. “It was volunteers and guys’ parents who came down and coached us every Saturday and they just made it fun for everyone and made everyone want to come back.”
Darge swaps East Lothian for the west coast of France on Sunday and a huge challenge.
“It’s probably the biggest game of my career,” he said. “It’s my European debut, I’ve never played in this competition and it’s La Rochelle away so it doesn’t get much tougher.
“There are some massive units in their team. They are a big side but they’ve got a skilful, sharp nine and ten in Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Ihaia West. So it’s a bit of everything but we just have to go there and put our game on them and see where that takes us.”
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