RORY DARGE was the toast of the Glasgow Warriors’ Awards Dinner on Tuesday night after picking up a prestigious hat-trick of accolades.
The 22-year-old edged out fellow back-rower Jack Dempsey in a fan’s vote for the McCrea Financial Services Player of the Season gong, was elected Players’ Player of the Year by his team-mates and was also unveiled as the club Test Player of the Year.
It is an impressive achievement for the North Berwick born and raised flanker who was a fringe player at Edinburgh just 14-months ago, having managed a solitary bench appearance for the capital side during his first season on a senior professional contract.
He made the switch west in search of regular game-time last March and was an immediate at Scotstoun being named McCrea Warrior of the Month that May. He has picked up that award twice more this season and, after missing out on last Autumn’s Test series due to an ankle issue, he made his international bow off the bench against Wales in round two of the recent Six Nations, going on to start the next three matches against France, Italy and Ireland.
Meanwhile, Johnny Matthews was named Warriors’ Breakthrough Player of the Season, having pushed his way past three internationalists in Fraser Brown, George Turner and Grant Stewart to be first choice hooker at the club for most of the last month. Matthews scored a hat-trick against Zebre at the start of April and his haul of nine tries for the season equals the record for a Glasgow forward.
The Young Player of the Year Award went to 21-year-old full-back Ollie Smith, who had his coming-of-age moment in pro rugby when he scored two tries off the bench in Glasgow’s European Champions Cup loss to La Rochelle at Scotstoun in January.
Despite having been a regular in the side for just half a season, he has carried the ball for more metres in the United Rugby Championship than any other Warriors player apart from Dempsey.
Veteran second-row Richie Gray was given the club Leadership Award at the end of a season in which he has led the URC in lineout steals and also been heavily involved with the club’s charity work off the field.
Rob Harley – who is to leave the club this summer after a record 266 appearances – was handed The Famous Grouse Coaches Award in recognition of his huge contribution during a 12-year association with the Scotstoun outfit.