The former Scotland winger Kenny Logan started his first Six Nations match in 1993 and didn’t score a try in the Championship until seven years later, against Ireland, at Dublin’s Lansdowne Road in 2000. After two Six Nations starts and another appearance off the bench Darcy Graham has scored three times, which gives you a clue just how far Scotland have come in a relatively short time.
The little Hawick man probably wonders what all the fuss is about. Numerous Scotland teams have travelled to Twickenham in hope only to return north with their tails between their legs. On his first ever visit, his fifth Test match in all, Graham scored a brace, good scores both. He had plenty to do, especially for the first one, cutting inside Jack Nowell and Manu Tuilagi before bouncing off Ellis Genge and going over the English line almost backwards, falling rather than diving.
“That second half was mad,” recalls Graham. “It was just try after try. We just threw the ball about and we had nothing to lose. We were 31-7 down [at half-time], just throwing the ball about and seeing what happens, putting a bit of pride back in the jersey. We spoke about going out and winning the second half… and we certainly did that.
“I’m just taking everything in my stride, just taking it week by week and learning from the boys. It’s great playing alongside the likes of Finn [Russell]. He can just make you look amazing and they are world-class players. Playing alongside them, you just learn off them and feed off their energy. They take everything in their stride and it’s just learning from them.”
If the little winger has any regrets it was that dad Ally wasn’t there to share the celebrations. Instead the female side of the family pitched up to support him and witnessed one of the most bizarre matches in living memory.
“He never came down to the game,” revealed the winger about his dad. “My mum, my sister and my girlfriend came down and had a girls weekend. My dad stayed and watched it on the TV but he was regretting that. I think he was about to turn it off at half-time as well. He was gutted he missed it.
“It was just a rush after the England game, pretty mad. I had to do some media straight afterwards so it wasn’t until the Sunday I got to speak to him. But he was chuffed to bits and fair enjoyed himself. My dad never goes out… he went and had a couple of beers after that!”
He wasn’t the only one. Scotland has been collectively dining out on the story of that Calcutta Cup comeback and arguably gone a little giddy with it, although it is difficult to imagine many other teams in the top ten of World Rugby’s rankings that would implode quite so quickly as Eddie Jones’ England did.
Graham even appeared in an online meme, sitting on a couple of English players in the middle of the action and appealing to the touchie with the beginnings of a grin on his face; a snapshot that neatly captured the essence of this match.
At least the Scots emerged with credit and confidence restored, important in a World Cup year. The winger doesn’t seem short of the stuff, self belief coursing through his veins. He refutes any suggestion that his size is an issue on the international stage and instead puts much of his recent development down to his experience with the Scotland sevens side, which remains an important “third” pro-team in a country with just two to its name.
“I’m just loving my time right now,” he says, and who could argue? “My confidence is flying high and I just want to take that on to the pitch. They [this Scotland team] are giving me the opportunity to express myself. I just have to back myself, and do what I do.
“Sevens was huge for me, the attacking side, just getting my hands on ball, finishing those tries. I don’t know how many I scored in the Sevens. But I was getting my hands on the ball a lot and just getting the feeling of running and just finishing them off. It was huge for me, I loved it. I really enjoyed my time in the Sevens.”
And now Graham is focusing on the 15-a-side game again, in particular Edinburgh’s Champions Cup quarter-final against Munster. Any European quarter is huge even if Edinburgh kept their league hopes alive by beating Leinster on Friday. Graham didn’t score in a forward-orientated effort but he did bounce through several would-be tacklers in one memorable second half moment.
“You just want to take your Scotland form on to the Edinburgh team and just crack on from there and finish the season on a high,” says Graham.
“There is not long to go. There’s only five games, depending on how well we get on in the quarter- final, six or seven games left in the season. We are on the final straight now and we just want to finish it on a high.”