Two-try Twickenham hero Darcy Graham on why he is no longer a Rising Son
Darcy Graham may still have the schoolboy looks but the Scotland wing insists he is no longer a rookie on the international scene.
The pint-sized Edinburgh back burst on to the Test stage late last year before capping off his first start for Gregor Townsend’s team with a try against Wales during March’s Guinness Six Nations clash.
But the 22-year-old really came of age for the Dark Blues with a stunning brace against the English as Scotland mounted the bravest of fightbacks to claim a remarkable 38-38 draw having been 24 points down at the change of ends.
It was that showing at Twickenham that convinced the Hawick flyer that he was now a man amongst men as he finally found his feet at rugby’s highest level.
Graham, who will collect his sixth cap when he starts against Georgia in today’s World Cup warm-up clash in Tiblisi, said: “I definitely feel settled into the international scene now. I’m not the young boy just fresh into the squad any more. I feel like I’m a proper international player now, especially after that England game.
“When I look back to that day at Twickenham, what I took from it was huge in terms of my learnings.
“I took a lot of confidence too and that is going to be so important at the World Cup. You need to back yourself on that kind of stage. If you’re not going to back yourself then how can the coaches?
“You have to have that confidence in yourself and know you’ll go out and do a good job.”
This weekend’s clash with the Lelos at the Dinamo Arena will be the Scotland hopeful’s final audition for a spot in the travelling party heading to the Far East.
Townsend will unveil his 31-man squad at a ceremony at Linlithgow Palace on Tuesday and the tension is beginning to rack up for those less than certain of their places.
Graham is certainly up against some tough competition, with Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland time-served members of the squad and Blair Kinghorn flexible enough to cover all three slots across the back three. Asked if he felt he was good enough to clinch a slot, he replied definitively: “Of course. I have to. If I don’t then how is Gregor meant to? But the competition is high, especially in the back three. There’s only so many spaces on that plane.” but hopefully I can show Gregor what I can do this weekend.
“It’s beginning to get real now with the squad announcement next week. I haven’t a clue how Gregor will break the news as to who is in and who is not.
“But we’ve still got this massive game this weekend to look forward to so I’m not looking too far ahead. Hopefully I can just put in a good performance then next week will take care of itself.”
Scotland are the first Tier One nation to visit Georgia and Graham expects Saturday’s host will be looking to take a scalp.
“They are a big team, full of big physical boys,” he said. “They are going to come hard so we have to respect them.
“Their backs are really good and a lot of them play in France and we expect them to be targeting us to get a win.
“But our backs are not far away from shaping up too. We’ve not been together for a long time so it takes a wee bit of time to get used to each other again.
“So I think we’re nearly there and will go well this weekend.”