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In-form Glasgow wing Kyle Rowe hoping to win race for Scotland starting spot

Kyle Rowe has been in good scoring form for Glasgow this season (Steven Paston/PA)
Kyle Rowe has been in good scoring form for Glasgow this season (Steven Paston/PA)

Glasgow wing Kyle Rowe has declared himself ready to step into the Scotland starting line-up in the absence of the injured Darcy Graham for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations opener away to Wales.

The 25-year-old has scored seven tries so far in his first season since returning to Warriors following the demise of previous club London Irish last summer, including three in his last two outings before meeting up with Gregor Townsend’s squad.

Edinburgh wing Graham will miss at least the first two matches of the championship, in Cardiff and at home to France, with a quad issue.

Townsend must decide whether to replace Scotland’s joint second-highest try-scorer of all time with Rowe, who has one injury-stunted cap to his name, his Glasgow team-mate Kyle Steyn, who has just returned after three months out, or the uncapped Sale flyer Arron Reed.

“You never want to see anyone getting injured, but Darcy’s injury has given me an opportunity to potentially get a starting spot,” said Rowe. “If not, I’m just looking to get better as a player and person over this period. My main goal is to try and get as many games in the Six Nations as possible.

“Glasgow and Scotland are pretty similar in terms of attack and defence so it’s a pretty seamless transition from one set-up to another.

“I feel like what I’ve done over the course of the first half of the season has put me in good stead for potential selection.

“It’s about taking the confidence I’ve got in my game at the minute and bringing it to Scotland.”

Darcy Graham
Darcy Graham will miss Scotland’s first two matches (Adam Davy/PA)

The Scotland squad are currently training in Spain before travelling to Wales on Thursday, and Rowe acknowledges he faces a stiff challenge in the days ahead as he bids to prove he deserves the chance to add to his solitary cap.

“The back three is such a competitive area, even with Darcy being out,” he said. “We’ve got Duhan (van der Merwe), Blair (Kinghorn), Kyle, myself, Arron and Ross McCann, who are all capable of playing at the top level.

“All of the players in the back-line can score tries, so we’re pretty dangerous. We all go into training looking to prove to the coaches we can train and play at this level, so we’ll see what happens.”

Rowe’s Scotland debut away to Argentina in July 2022 lasted just 10 minutes after he damaged his ACL and part of his MCL, sidelining him for the entirety of last season.

Kyle Rowe
Former London Irish wing Rowe’s Scotland debut ended badly (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“It was one of the worst injuries I could get,” he said. “It was very mixed emotions for me that day. It was a very proud moment for myself and my family and then to basically have that all taken away from me was pretty devastating.

“Not everybody does their ACL but you get those big injuries from time to time and it was devastating that my big injury had to come during my first cap for Scotland.”

After recovering from injury, Rowe was included in Scotland’s pre-World Cup training squad last summer before being cut from the final 33 for the showpiece in France.

Gregor Townsend
Gregor Townsend is running the rule over his squad (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“If I had come back a little bit quicker, I might have had an outside chance. but during the summer when I was coming into training I knew in my heart and my head that it was only a slim chance and it was a long shot that I was going to go to the World Cup,” he said.

“I didn’t hold any grudges or anything about not getting selected, I knew it was a long shot.

“I’m back in the squad now which is really good so I’m just looking to build on what I’ve done in the first part of the season and get a game for Scotland.”