Rory Darge will be ready to go against France after lay-off – Steve Tandy

By Sports Desk February 06, 2024

Defence coach Steve Tandy insisted Scotland would have no concerns about throwing recently-appointed co-captain Rory Darge into Saturday’s showdown with France following six weeks on the sidelines.

The 23-year-old flanker sustained a knee injury while playing for Glasgow against Edinburgh on December 30 and has not played since.

He was initially rated doubtful for the entire championship but has recovered quicker than anticipated and is expected to be ready for this weekend’s match against Les Bleus.

Darge’s return to contention is particularly timely after fellow flanker Luke Crosbie and veteran lock Richie Gray were ruled out for the rest of the tournament with shoulder and bicep injuries respectively.

“Dargey’s trained and he’s looking good,” reported Tandy on Tuesday. “He came through training last week, he trained again today, so all being well in the rest of the training week he’ll be available.”

Asked if he felt Darge could slot straight back into the Test XV having not played for almost a month and a half, Tandy said: “Definitely. He’s done it before, after injuries.

“Knowing Rory and the guy he is, how diligent he is and how he looks at and studies the game, we have no doubts. Physically, it feels like he’s adding layer on layer as he gets a little bit older.

“He’s physically ready and even when they are injured, the boys are still lifting (weights) – it’s not as if they’re sitting there doing nothing. They’re active in and around what the strength and conditioning guys and the medical team want.”

Tandy lamented the loss of back-rower Crosbie and second-rower Gray after the pair – both of whom started the match – picked up tournament-ending injuries in Saturday’s 27-26 victory away to Wales.

“First and foremost, with the characters they are, they’re awesome individuals,” said the coach. “Richie brings lots of experience around the group and he’s got better with age.

“He’s great to work with and you see the energy and clarity he brings to the group. He will be sorely missed.

“Luke has fought so hard to get to the international scene. You see the warrior he is on the field, but there is also the character he is and how he leads in the training environment, how he speaks in meetings.

“We’ve got a great squad though. If you look at the back-rowers, there are loads of form players so we’re lucky enough to have an abundance in those positions.

“If someone misses out, everyone else is ready to step into the shirt.”

Tandy admitted there were “lots of learnings” for Scotland after a game in Cardiff where they went dangerously close to squandering a 27-0 lead.

However, he also felt there were plenty of positives to be drawn from their first win in the Welsh capital in 22 years, ahead of back-to-back home games against France and England.

“It’s important not to get too far ahead,” said Tandy. “We’ve had a really good result, going to Wales and getting that job done, but now it’s just about focusing on France.

“Coming back to Murrayfield is massive. We’ve got to improve bits of our game and continue lots of the stuff we did in the first half and at the back end of the Wales game.”

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