Rory Darge in race to be fit for Six Nations, while Pete Horne expects big future for Tom Jordan

Medical update states that flanker will be out of action for "several months"

Tom Jordan has a big future at Glasgow Warriors according to assistant coach Pete Horne. Image: Craig Watson
Tom Jordan has a big future at Glasgow Warriors according to assistant coach Pete Horne. Image: Craig Watson

DISAPPOINTING but not particularly surprising news came out of Scotstoun earlier today [Monday] with a Glasgow Warriors medical update confirming that their international flanker Rory Darge will not play in Scotland’s Autumn Test series and suggesting that he is a major doubt for the Six Nations following a serious ankle injury during the club’s 52-24 victory over Cardiff on Friday night.

The 22-year-old underwent successful surgery on the dislocated joint on Saturday and “will now begin rehabilitation that will see him out of action for several months,” according to the bulletin.

On a more positive note, he same statement revealed that Scotland internationalists Ollie Smith ands Ross Thompson have returned to training after both missing the start of the season with back injuries and are in contention to play in next Saturday’s away match against the Ospreys. Tongan No 8 Sione Vailanu, who was a summer signing from Worcester Warriors, is also closing in on his debut for the Scotstoun outfit having recovered from a period of sickness.


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Meanwhile, Warriors specialist skills coach Pete Horne has praised Tom Jordan‘s work ethic and rugby ability after the New Zealander started the team’s first two matches of the 2022-23 URC season at stand-off.

The 24-year-old midfielder came to prominence in this country playing Super6 with Ayrshire Bulls, and began training with Warriors during lockdown, before signing his first contract with the club last November – but because URC rules permit a maximum of just two ‘international’ players in a team at any point and this meant Jordan did not make his debut until new head coach Franco Smith handed him the No 10 jersey for the opening match of this season away to Benetton two weekends ago.

It didn’t go particularly well with Warriors slumping to a 33-11 defeat, but Smith kept faith with the new-look backline he had selected for that game, and they repaid his loyalty with a much-improved performance against Cardiff on Friday night.

“I’ve been a big fan of TJ’s ever since he came in to train with us during Covid,” explained Horne. “I love his enthusiasm. Off the ball, he works so hard, and he’s not shy of chucking himself about.

“He can do it all. He can play, he can break tackles, he’s got great feet and he can create for other people. I’m big of his and I think he’s going to have a big future.

“Last year, Jack Dempsey and Josh McKay were two of the first names on the team-sheet a lot of the time, so it meant there was no space for TJ because of the foreign player rule,” Horne continued.  “And even in those periods when one of those guys was out with injury, it tended to be at times when we needed Enrique Pieretto, who is also an ‘international’ player, at prop.

“So, it is testament to his character that even with that he trained the house down, and all the coaches at the club at the time were saying they would love to have him out there on the pitch on match-day.

“Obviously an opportunity has come up this year. He’s ended up having to play a bit at 10 but he’s doing great. On the weekend there he really grew into it, and once he settled after that first 20 minutes, he was excellent. I see him having a big future at 12 but he’s got all the skills to jump in and play 10 as well.

“He becomes a Scottish resident at the start of November – same as Enrique – after three years in the country, so although he’s not available for the national team for another couple of years, he counts as a Scottish resident for the league.”

 

Horne praised Smith for holding his nerve to keep Jordan in the starting XV after the Benetton game, when there must have been a temptation to go with a more experienced and proven option such as Argentinean international Domingo Miotti or Scottish veteran Duncan Weir in the crucial stand-off slot instead.

“There was a lot of guys in that boat,” said Horne. “It was so doom and gloom on the flight home [from Italy after the Benetton game], and it is easy after you have a performance and result like that to say: ‘That was terrible, not good enough I’m going to make 10 changes’, whereas it might be better to say: ‘You know what? We got it right, but you guys didn’t have a good game, so get back out there and show us what you can do’.

“So, I think Franco got his team selection bang on. He recognised that it wasn’t a case of everything we’ve been planning went to pot. It was a blip, we didn’t play well in that first game but it wasn’t panic stations. And I think that really helped settle the guys.

“It meant that all the boys got another chance to go out and back it up and show what they’re about and they probably felt they had to repay that faith. I think you saw that in their performances, their work-rate around the park and all the nitty gritty.

“This is what I sometimes think goes amiss among the Glasgow fans. People from the outside look in and see eight tries and it’s all glamour and fancy passes, with the backs running, but it’s all built on the back of a real bit of brutality, a real edge around the breakdown, the work-rate off the ball, guys getting set and into position and all these unseen things. That’s what we’re trying to emphasise, that’s what make us tick.

“It [Friday’s performance] was exactly what the doctor ordered. After the disappointment of the first week it was brilliant to see the boys express themselves. They looked excited to be out on the field, they looked like they were enjoying it, even in the 83rd minute when they were still trying to throw the ball about and score another try.

“Franco spoke at half-time about trying to unite this club, and everyone associated with it. It was being brave and keeping our foot on he gas and keeping on playing and I think we did that. We scored a lot of tries in the second half.

“And it felt like everyone you were speaking to after the game was buzzing so fingers crossed it can be the catalyst for kicking on and getting another good win this week.”

“It was reminiscent of Glasgow of old. It’s what everyone want to see – you want to come and be entertained, ultimately.”


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About David Barnes 3112 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

10 Comments

  1. Any chance of comments appearing in a timely manner? It says 2 comments are active in the homepage for this article yet do not show when opened, very frustrating as this happens all the time. I’ll be posting on the Scottish Rugby Blog more often.

    It might just be me but their also seems to be an add issue for mobile? The page keeps moving up and down as the adds change making it unnecessarily difficult to read the article, am i the only one experiencing these things?

    Other than that appreciate the articles, but please sort out the above.

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  2. I wasn’t aware of the maximum of two non-European players in a matchday squad (not inc. those who have lived in the country for 36+ months) rule, and don’t understand how Glasgow met this criteria against Cardiff given their squad included three Argentinians (Cancelliere, Sordoni, Miotti), two South Africans (Du Preez, Manjezi) and two Aussies (Dempsey, Jordan). What am I missing here?

    • Apparently all the Argentinean players apart from Pieretto have Italian passports so they don’t count as ‘international’ playeRS. south Africans also don’t come into that category, presumably because South Africa is part of the league. So, that leaves Dempsey of Australia and Jordan of New Zealand.

  3. Wasn’t aware of the two international player rule and it explains some of the team selections last year.

    How were Jordan, Miotti, Dempsey and the new Argentinian prop all manage to play on Friday? Also I guess South Africans don’t count.

    • Good question. Just checked with Warriors and its because all the Argentinean players apart from Enrique Pieretto have Italian passports.

      • Even though we are out of the EU, the Kolpak agreement seems to still be in effect, meaning those from South Africa and the Pacific islands can work here and count as Europeans.

    • I’ve just written out a similar comment. The competition rules don’t appear to mention anything about South Africans being classed as ‘non-European’. Quite confusing!

      • to quote
        “Each European Club is permitted a maximum of two Non-European Players in any one Match squad. A “Non-European Player” is a Player who is not a European Player. A “European Player” is defined as a Player who, at the point that he is included in a Match squad:

        a) is a national of a Member State of the European Union or the European Economic Area (and the United Kingdom will, for these purposes, be treated as such a state in any event) or of a state with which the European Union (or its predecessor, the European Community) has entered into an agreement that includes directly effective provisions conferring equivalent rights of non-discrimination against that state’s nationals within the European Union; or

        b) has completed 36 consecutive months of Residence in the country of the Union which has jurisdiction over his Club; or

        c) pursuant to World Rugby Regulation 8, is eligible to play for the senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team, the next senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team or the senior National Representative Sevens Team (as those terms are used in those regulations) of a Union.”
        https://www.unitedrugby.com/about/competition-rules

        A similar rule applies to the european competitions.

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