Rugby World Cup: Scotland's Darcy Graham hunts down try record - 'it's getting closer'

Darcy Graham has his sights set on Stuart Hogg’s Scotland try-scoring record after bagging four in the thrashing of Romania at the World Cup to put Hawick firmly on the rugby map again.
Darcy Graham is only three tries away from Stuart Hogg's Scotland record.Darcy Graham is only three tries away from Stuart Hogg's Scotland record.
Darcy Graham is only three tries away from Stuart Hogg's Scotland record.

The winger now has 24 for his country, level with Ian Smith and Tony Stanger in second place on the all-time list. Hogg is out on front on 27 but it looks to be a matter of when not if Graham will overhaul him.

He has been outstanding for Scotland across the past 12 months, scoring 12 tries in his last seven Tests and that’s despite missing the Six Nations with as knee injury. He ran amok in the 84-0 win over Romania to help set-up a Pool B decider with Ireland and his latest scoring feat now means that three of Scotland's top four try-scorers were produced by Hawick. It’s a remarkable achievement for the Borders club whose contribution to the game cannot be overstated.

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“It’s incredible – a hell of a stat,” said Graham. “Hawick have produced so many international players and now we have three of the top four try-scorers in Scottish history. It’s incredible for the town and there will be a lot of happy people back home.”

Hogg, who retired just before the World Cup, is also a proud son of Hawick, as is Stanger, one of the heroes of the 1990 Grand Slam. Smith, part of the 1924 Grand Slam team, is the odd man out in the top four having been born in Melbourne to Scottish parents and winning his caps out of Oxford University, Edinburgh University and London Scottish.

At 26, Graham has years left in the international game and sees himself catching Hogg sooner rather than later. “It’s getting close,” said the Edinburgh winger. “It will come and will happen when it happens. Would I like to go equal with Hoggy with a hat-trick against Ireland? That would be lovely!”

Scotland’s bonus-point win over Romania put them on 10 points, four behind Ireland going into this Saturday’s game in Paris. The Scots need to come out of the contest with four match points to Ireland’s zero, or five to one. That would mean both teams finishing level on points but Scotland would finish above the Irish by virtue of their head-to-head record.

“It’s do or die now, a World Cup final almost for both teams,” said Graham. “Winner takes all, pretty much. For us, it’s about getting our preparation right, recovering well and then firing into what is going to be an incredible week. The atmosphere is going to be incredible so it’s a very exciting time ahead. We know their players very well and have played a lot of rugby against them in the URC and Six Nations. We know what they are going to bring - that physicality, brutality and being well-drilled. Their lineout and scrum are well-drilled units so we are going to have to be switched on for the whole 80 minutes.

“It should be a hell of an occasion. It felt like we were playing at Murrayfield in Lille on Saturday night. The fans were incredible. It’s not cheap coming out here, but the fans have done it and we don’t take that for granted. We notice it and feel it. My family have done every game and they’re coming back over for Ireland. My sister is due - her due date was the day of the Romania game! I think my parents are hoping she holds off until after the Ireland game!”