Kyle Rowe making up for lost time as he reflects on Six Nations involvement

He's got his sights set now on making the summer tour

Kyle Rowe keen to make up for lost time. Image: © Craig Watson -
Kyle Rowe keen to make up for lost time. Image: © Craig Watson -

KYLE ROWE has taken the circuitous route to success.

After a number of setbacks that would have tested the spirits of even the most battle-hardened of characters, the 26-year-old has finally reached career contentment.

Tearing his ACL just 10 minutes into his Scotland debut in Argentina in the summer of 2022 was the start of a wretched year that saw his club London-Irish go into administration before he had fully completed his rehab.

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Glasgow, though, were quick to offer him a second chance at Scotstoun – having been on the fringes of things there in 2019 – and he has capitalised on the opportunity, his eye-catching displays for Franco Smith’s side earning him a Scotland recall.

An injury to Blair Kinghorn saw Rowe handed his Six Nations debut in Wales in the No. 15 shirt, a role he was set to reprise against France until Kyle Steyn’s wife went into labour, with Rowe reverting to the wing to allow a debut for Harry Paterson.

The former 7s player didn’t feature against England but returned to the matchday squad for the final two games against Italy and Ireland, firmly establishing himself as a key figure in Gregor Townsend’s plans.

This has been the most cathartic of seasons for Rowe and he remains grateful for the chance to get back on track and make up for lost time.

“I feel I’m at the point I should have been after the Argentina tour,” he said. “With doing my knee and everything it stunted that so I feel I’m where I should have been a year previous.

“I went into the Six Nations not really expecting anything. And then when you play the first two games you’re like, ‘right, I should be involved every week’.

“And I pretty much was apart from the England game. I was gutted about that because I want to play every game.

“But overall I did a lot better than even what I was expecting with the game time. I was pretty happy with what I did over the Six Nations.”

Rowe had little experience of playing at full-back prior to that Cardiff match but slotted in seamlessly. Josh McKay has made that role his own at Glasgow but Rowe believes he now offers an alternative option with Ollie Smith on the long-term injury list.

“During the week [of the Wales game] it was trying to get myself comfortable with playing 15,” he added. “Once you’re in the game and you’re in that state your mind is just focused on doing your job.

“I felt very comfortable and going into the France week where I was meant to be playing 15. I felt a lot more comfortable going into that game than I did going into the Wales game.

“I hope [it’s an option for Glasgow too]. We’ve had a small chat about it. You never know with injuries or boys getting a week off or something I might get chucked in there.”

Having finally had a sustained taste of international rugby, Rowe hopes he has done enough to merit a place on the summer tour.

“I’d like to think I’m going but you never know what Gregor is thinking,” he added. “Fingers crossed I’m going and get a few tests out there and then into the Autumn tests as well.

“I’ve done America and Canada because of the sevens but it was two different places so it’ll be a good month or so away and it’ll be good fun.”

Before then, of course, club duty calls, with Rowe likely to be involved when Warriors take on Scarlets away from home on Saturday night.

With Glasgow going well in the United Rugby Championship and a last 16 Champions Cup tie with Harlequins looming, Rowe knows it could yet be a stellar end to the season.

“We’re third in the URC and playing Quins next week in the round of 16. It’s getting to the business end of the season which is where you want to be. We’re in two cups and we’re glad to be part of it.”

Every player needs to find a way to switch off from the demands of modern rugby and Rowe’s comes in the form of his whippet, Maggie.

“I needed just a small bit of time off after the Six Nations,” he added. “It’s taxing on the body but as it’s test matches it’s taxing on the mind as well.

“It was more mentally trying to get away and switch off basically. My dog does a lot of that for me.

“She gets two walks a day but she’s happy with one – a couple of sprints and she’s sleeping for 18 hours a day.  If she sees it’s raining she says ‘no chance’ – it’s a quick wee and straight back in!”

About Graeme Macpherson 38 Articles
Graeme Macpherson is a freelance sports writer who covers rugby for a number of outlets.

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