Rory Sutherland grateful to Ulster for rescuing him from Worcester plight after tough times for player and family

Rory Sutherland considers himself one of the lucky ones because he found a new club but the last few months have been tough for the Scotland prop following the financial collapse of Worcester Warriors.

Scotland's Rory Sutherland breaks through against Fiji.   (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Scotland's Rory Sutherland breaks through against Fiji. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Sutherland was among 40 players at Sixways who lost their jobs and admits the period of uncertainty took its toll on his family. Edinburgh, his former club, and Glasgow Warriors were both interested in the loosehead but it was Ulster who signed him and he has already made a favourable impression, turning in a big performance on his debut to help them beat Munster away.

He was whisked off to Edinburgh straight after and came off the bench in the second half of Scotland’s 28-12 win over Fiji. Now he is looking forward to the visit of the All Blacks on Sunday, a chance to focus on his rugby after a turbulent start to the season.

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“Yeah, it was a tough couple of months,” said Sutherland. “But I’m one of those fortunate guys that’s found a contract. Forty players lost their jobs, and from what I’ve seen there’s probably eight players who have managed to get a job. I really hope that Worcester can pull it together and find a businessman that’s willing to buy the club and get it back on its feet again. But it’s a horrible situation to be in. It went on for a long time.

Rory Sutherland is looking forward to the visit of New Zealand. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

“I feel like I’ve dragged my family through the dirt with it. It was a really hard time just not knowing what was going to happen week to week, and even day to day as well - we got updates every day on what was happening. But like I say it was a very tough couple of months for my family.”

There is a familiar face at Ravenhill in Roddy Grant, the former Edinburgh flanker who is now Ulster’s forwards coach, but Sutherland said he had always been impressed with the club who are challenging at the top end of the URC.

“When it started going downhill a little bit at Worcester, my agent messaged me and said that there were a couple of clubs interested. And because it dragged on for so long and we weren’t allowed to leave, I lost a few contracts,” added Sutherland who said that talks with Edinburgh and Glasgow came to nothing. But Ulster was always one that I was very impressed by. It’s a very good team and when I played against them at Edinburgh they were always tough to play against. And so far I’ve really enjoyed it. I played with Roddy Grant and then I was coached by him briefly at Edinburgh as well. It’s nice to see familiar faces.”

Sutherland, who has signed until the end of the season, is now concentrating on Scotland, with the All Blacks and Argentina lined up over the next two weekends. “I think against Fiji we were our own worst enemy at times with discipline, and that’s going to be a big work-on for us this week,” he said. “We can’t make mistakes like that against New Zealand. But we’re not looking at ourselves as underdogs going into this game. We’ll be putting a good side out, and putting in a good week’s training, so I’m looking forward to it.”

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