RWC23: Ireland v Scotland: Darcy Graham closes in on try-scoring record

Winger has drawn equal with Ian Smith and Tony Stanger in list of Scotland's all-time top try-scorers, behind only Stuart Hogg

Darcy Graham's four tries against Romania took his Scotland total to 24. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Darcy Graham's four tries against Romania took his Scotland total to 24. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

FOUR tries on Saturday night moved Darcy Graham ahead of Duhan van der Merwe who was rested for the procession against a Romania side who were dead on their feet having already suffered heavy defeats to Ireland and South Africa in their opening two games of this World Cup  in the race to become Scotland’s all-time leading try-scorer. 

Graham is now on 24 tries from 38 Test matches to date, second equal with Ian Smith (who reached that total in 32 matches between 1924 and 1933) and Tony Stanger (52 matches between 1989 and 1998). Meanwhile, van der Merwe is on 21 from 33 matches, and they are all chasing current top dog Stuart Hogg, who accumulated his 27 tries in 100 Test matches before retirement at the start of this summer.

It would be a remarkable achievement if Graham was to score the three tries he needs to close that gap between himself and Hogg against Ireland this coming Sunday, but the little winger is nothing if not an optimist.

“It’s getting close – it will come and will happen when it happens,” said Graham.. “Would I like to go equal with Hoggy with a hat-trick against Ireland? That would be lovely!


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Time is on the 26-year-old’s side, so it surely is now a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ he will pass that 27-try mark. But Graham is a character who loves to leave his mark on big occasions, and they don’t come much bigger than a showdown against the number one team in the world in front of a packed Stade de France with a place in the World Cup quarter-finals on the line.

The permutations of what Scotland must do on Saturday to secure an unlikely qualification to the last eight of this tournament are complicated, but it essentially requires them to beat Ireland whilst depriving their opponents of a bonus point, and if Ireland lose but score four tries or more then Scotland must win by at least five match points. Anything else would mean Ireland and South Africa progressing with Scotland going home.

 

“It’s do-or-die, now, a World Cup final … almost … for both teams. The atmosphere is going to be incredible so it’s a very exciting time ahead,” he added.

While Graham’s instinct is to attack at every opportunity, he recognises the need to be brave and stay diligent in defence against an Ireland side which has a backline filled with game-breakers.

“They’re so well drilled – you can’t take your eyes off any of their backs. I will have to be switched on for the whole 80 minutes, because they will sting you if you don’t do that,.

“We know their players very well and have played a lot of rugby against them in the URC and Six Nations. We know what they are going to bring – that physicality, brutality and being well-drilled.

“It should be a hell of an occasion. It felt like we were playing at Murrayfield in Lille on Saturday night. The fans were incredible. It’s not cheap coming out here, but the fans have done it and we don’t take that for granted. We notice it and feel it.

“Nice [for the Tonga match] felt like Murrayfield as well. The support we have had in France has been incredible. My family have done every game and they’re coming back over for Ireland,” he added, before revealing that there could be a complication in that plan.

“My sister is due – her due date was the day of the Romania game! I think my parents are hoping she holds off until after the Ireland game!”

Remarkably, three out of those four top try try-scorers in Scotland team history – Graham, Hogg and Stanger – come from Hawick, a Borders town with a population of around 13,500.

“It’s incredible – a hell of a stat,” said Graham. “Hawick have produced so many international players and now we have three of the top four try scorers in Scottish history. It’s brilliant for the town and there will be a lot of happy people back home.”

Graham also revealed that the distinctive bleach-blond hair and moustache he has been sporting during the World Cup will not last beyond the end of the tournament.

“My mum likes it but I don’t think my dad likes it,” he said.  “It’s easy to spot me on the pitch, but it’s too much effort so it’s going after this!”


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About David Barnes 4028 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The 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.

18 Comments

  1. Mouse, what gossip are you talking about ?

    I was referring to Hogg’s Captain Fantastic ego which resulted in him sometimes not passing to teammates who were in a better position to score. Darcy had such an episode against S.A. . His exceptional evasive running should ensure that he exceeds Hogg’s record, but his ambition should not get in the way of team success.

      • What gossip, Mouse ? I’m talking about the Hogg Captain Fantastic ego. Traces of it when Darcy appeared not to pass in S.A. game. Thought Hogg would have been a TV pundit at the World Cup.

      • Fraser MacGregor .
        Hogg is a pundit for TNT sports new rugby channel so will only do Heineken cup European pro matches etc
        Not on ITV for World Cup .
        Hogg has a lot of stories doing the rounds in the Borders regards his personal life but that’s another thing .

  2. If we beat Ireland I genuinely won’t be too disappointed not to qualify. Ireland are a top team and any victory against them should be savoured.
    Of course knocking them out would be just about the funniest thing ever to happen in rugby.

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  3. If teams are level does it go to head-to-head, or points difference? If it’s points difference surely Scotland need the 4-try bonus in almost any circumstance? (Unless we beat Ireland by 13 points or more which would put us above them on points).

    • The table above covers all the scenarios. If points are tied the top spot it is based on head to head unless there are 3 on same points then it is on points difference. Then who is second goes back to head to head. So Scotland can get by with just a win as long as Ireland don’t get a losing bonus point. SA are top then on 15 points and Scotland get second spot as they beat Ireland and both are on 14. If all are on 15 then the PD is really interesting per the table.

    • If two teams are level on points then it goes to the head to head between them. This means if Scotland were to win by 8 or more points we would go through in second place – both teams have 14 points but Scotland has won the head to head. This ignores the unlikely and complicated case of Ireland scoring four tries and Scotland winning.

  4. There must be something in the water in Hawick .
    The amount of Champions that come out of the town is mind blowing .
    Be it. Jockeys ( flat and jumps ) Rugby. Motor Sport .Bowlers .Archery ..
    The list goes on .

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  5. With no bonus points awarded, would Scotland not need to win by 13 or more points as it would come down to points difference in the group?

      • Ed.
        Think Mac Baldwin means if nobody any scores tries .
        You get a bonus point if you are within 7 points of opposition score line .
        So if Ireland don’t score a try but are within 7 points of Scotland
        Ireland would progress .
        Tough ask for Scotland but anything can happen in sport

    • Win by more than 8 points denying Ireland any bonus points .
      That ‘s it I think
      Any bonus point Ireland get Scotland can’t go through no matter the victory score.

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