Darryl Marfo’s rollercoaster first season at Edinburgh is on the upward trajectory again as the surprise Scotland prop aims to play a full part in Edinburgh exciting season finale.
The man who chanced his arm with an email asking for a job to Edinburgh chief executive Jonny Petrie last summer and ended up in the Scotland international team just a handful of months later saw his amazing season abruptly halt with a back injury just after his Autumn Tests adventure.
That meant after playing in all three tests in November he had to sit and watch the entire 6 Nations from the sidelines, but the problem has cleared, he made his return for Edinburgh in the victory over Connacht last week, and is poised to play a big role starting with Saturday’s European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff at BT Murrayfield.
“Champing at the bit is the phrase I would use to describe getting back,” said Marfo, who has quickly become a big favourite with colleagues and fans at the capital club. “There were nerves and apprehension on Friday for my first game in roughly four months, but it was nice to dust the cobwebs off and I now have a foundation to build on.
“Any injury is mentally tough but I had just had the massive high of the autumn, getting to experience international rugby with Scotland, and the plan was to come straight back and crack on with Edinburgh.
“I had a week off, then preparing for the London Irish match my back went and what was meant to be one week thing became two and then a bit longer.
“Once it became clear what the problem was and we could address it properly, it was okay but it was quite a tough period.”
Marfo had played for four years without any major injury issues, and even if playing for the land of his mother’s birth hadn’t been exactly what he had expected at the season’s start, “up in the rafters” watching Scotland in the 6 Nations was not where he wanted to be.
“The squad gets named and you know you’re not going to be in it, but still when you see it in black and white and your name is not there it does hit home a little bit more,” he said.
“I tried to enjoy (watching) because I’m playing rugby most weekends I don’t actually get to enjoy the whole experience that a regular fan does, and also I wanted to use it as a bit of motivation.
“I was looking down on the pitch and there were about 12 other guys I had been playing with just a few months earlier, beating France and England. I had previously been part of that group, and to see it in the flesh spurred me on to try and get back there.”
Both Gregor Townsend and forwards coach Dan McFarland told Marfo he was still in their thoughts, and he went back into training camp at the end of the 6 Nations, but his gola is not the national team’s summer tour but a full part in Edinburgh’s Challenge Cup and PRO14 play-off push.
“Rather than fitter I think I’m physically, mentally a bit more refreshed, that’s maybe a better way to put it,” he continued.
“The only target for me is Cardiff this weekend. I’ve got to be doing everything I can to try to get into that.
“They’ll be tough, they’re on a good run and have quite a few Welsh internationals. They have some old heads in that front row – Gethin Jenkins, Rhys Gill and Taufa’ao Filise, who is a rock, a cornerstone.
“I’m ready to put in a full shift and back myself to do it.”