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Six Nations Players to Watch: Scotland's Rory Darge

Named co-captain for the Six Nations alongside Finn Russell, flanker Rory Darge looks set to be Scotland's go-to tearaway for the next decade.

British and Irish Lions tourist Hamish Watson may have been recalled to the squad for Saturday's Calcutta Cup clash against England, but Darge is sure to start against the Red Rose at Murrayfield.

The 23-year-old missed his team's opening win over Wales but returned to star, albeit in defeat, against France. 

With England's defence around the fringes still a work in progress, Darge's expertise at the breakdown, big hits and strong carrying make him a perpetual menace.

Factfile

NameRory Darge
NationScotland
Place of BirthEdinburgh
Age23
ClubGlasgow
PositionFlanker
Height6ft 1in
Weight102kg
International Caps16
International Points25

Odds

Darge and Scotland resume their Six Nations campaign with Saturday's Calcutta Cup clash and are just 8/15 to beat England for the fourth straight year. 

That would maintain their 11/1 hopes of claiming the Triple Crown and perhaps shorten their price of 22/1 for outright success. 

On an individual level, Darge is 80/1 to be named Player of the Championship, while he can be backed at 80/1 to be his country's top tournament try scorer, with Duhan van der Merwe leading the way at 2/9 after his brace of tries against Wales. 

Rugby Union

Background and Profile

Born in Edinburgh and schooled in North Berwick, Darge shone for the Southern Knights in the domestic Super 6 competition before penning a deal with his hometown club.

However, Watson's presence limited his opportunities, making his only appearance against Leinster, and he joined Glasgow in 2021.

Darge quickly became a regular at Scotstoun and his form earned him a call-up for the 2021 Summer Internationals before making his debut in the 2022 Six Nations.

International career 

After representing Scotland at under-20 level, Darge made his full debut off the bench in his country's defeat to Wales before making his first start against France later that month.

He marked the occasion with a try but could not prevent his team from losing again. However, he did enough to keep his place, switching to the blindside to accommodate Watson's return in the win over Italy and defeat to Ireland.

A knee injury meant Darge missed the entirety of the 2023 Six Nations but returned in time to play a part in Scotland's World Cup warm-up matches, scoring tries against France and Georgia.

His performance saw him displace Watson as Gregor Townsend's preferred openside, starting three of his team's Pool B matches, touching down against Tonga and Romania.

A player who leads by example rather than by screaming and shouting, Darge's leadership qualities were recognised by his selection as co-captain for this year's Six Nations, sharing the responsibility with the more demonstrative Russell.

What to expect

After missing his team's opening win in Wales due to a knee injury, Darge showed how good he was in the defeat to France, tightening up his team's work around the ruck.

Townsend's side came under scrutiny for their second-half showing at the Principality, at one stage conceding 14 penalties on the bounce to allow Wales back into the game.

That technique and patience around the ruck allowed Scotland to dominate possession, with him far from at fault as they eventually came up short against Les Bleus.

Watson's recall could see Darge again switch to the blindside, with his talents earning comparisons to former Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton, a player coaches were happy to employ on either side of the scrum as they looked to adapt their approach for different opponents.

The 23-year-old's future should be in the seven shirt, with his ability over the ball, carrying it over the gain-line and hitting those in possession of it, meaning only injuries will stop him shining for the next decade.

Like Watson in 2021, Darge could be a Lions tourist next summer. The competition for places in the back row is fierce, but the way the Scot has developed when enjoying a run of games shows he could well be a Test rival for the likes of Jac Morgan, Josh van der Flier and Tom Curry.

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