Scotland forward Rob Harley preferred Dostoevsky to Netflix during lockdown

Warriors forward has novel approach to escaping rigours of professional rugby

Rob Harley at training at Scotstoun. Picture: Bill Murray / SNS
Rob Harley at training at Scotstoun. Picture: Bill Murray / SNS

For those of us who spent much of lockdown leafing through potpoiler paperbacks, glaze-eyed binging on Netflix and indulging in a Back to the Future triple bill marathon, Glasgow and Scotland forward Rob Harley puts us to shame.

The 30-year-old, who holds the Warriors’ appearance record and has 21 caps for Scotland, is keen on writing and has a taste for high-end literature as an escape from the more physical exertions of life as a professional rugby player.

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Harley explained: “I read quite a lot. It was easy to do because everything was there. I am studying so it gave me the chance to focus quite a lot on the studies. I was reading an Ursula Le Guin anthology of science fiction stories. I read a good book on Afghanistan called No Good Men Among the Living, which I would recommend.

“And during the phase out of lockdown, when we were travelling to Edinburgh back and forth, I thought that was a good chance to use that time as well, so I finished The Brothers Karamazov on audiobook during the time we were travelling back and forth to Edinburgh. Not always cheery, but I found it quite funny. I am trying to write but unfortunately I read a lot more than I wrote during lockdown. It’s much easier to read, I guess.

“I’m studying Classics through the Open University.

“A few of the other players have criticised me for not doing something specific and career-focused but I essentially picked something I was interested in.”

After Dostoevsky’s late 19th century classic which explores themes like God, free will, and morality against the backdrop of a modernising Russia, it is back to the day job for Harley now and a focus this week on making amends for that 30-15 loss to Edinburgh in the 1872 Cup last Saturday.

“We are pretty confident,” said Harley. “I think there’s some clear pictures from that game where, early on especially at the breakdown, we made a lot of mistakes.

“You look at the Edinburgh side, it’s a quality side, they have a lot of good players and that has to play into it. For us, looking at what we’ve done, we weren’t perfect, it’s our first game of the season, we have some pretty clear things to work on and hopefully we have the chance to redress that on Friday.”

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