A TRY on his home debut as part of a sensational individual performance was not enough for Rory Darge and Scotland to avoid going down to defeat against France in the Six Nations.

Twenty-two-year-old Darge was named in Gregor Townsend’s starting XV for the first time on Saturday, winning his second cap after making his debut against Wales two weeks earlier.

France’s quick start at BT Murrayfield put them in the driving seat before Darge touched down to narrow the deficit to 12-10 just 29 minutes into his first appearance for the national team in front of a home crowd.

But that was far from the only highlight on the day for Darge, who was by some distance Scotland’s best player, winning numerous turnovers with phenomenal work at the breakdown, as well as producing several impressive tackles and also offering a ball-carrying presence in a complete all-round performance from the youngster which saw him touted as a future star by rugby legends including England’s Rugby World Cup winning captain Martin Johnson.

However, Darge’s display was one of the few bright spots on the day for Scotland, as title favourites France scored six tries on the way to a convincing 36-17 win which keeps them on course for their first Grand Slam since 2010.

East Lothian Courier: Scotland's Rory Darge dives in to score their side's first try during the Guinness Six Nations match at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA WireScotland's Rory Darge dives in to score their side's first try during the Guinness Six Nations match at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

After the match, Darge – who had switched from blindside flanker to openside flanker on the eve of the match after Hamish Watson was ruled out by Covid-19 – said: “It was a proud moment lining up for the anthems and then to get that score but at the end of the day it was a loss and we’re gutted about the result.

“I was very nervous before the game because obviously it was my first start at a new level.

“It’s not quite doubts, but you have nervousness about how you’re going to fare.

“I was still confident but I had nerves.

“The pace was very fast.

“It’s not something I’ve experienced much except maybe when I played La Rochelle with Glasgow.

“It was also probably a step up in terms of physicality.”

Darge, who plays his club rugby for Glasgow Warriors, had stepped off the bench and made his first Scotland appearance as a substitute during the defeat in Cardiff a fortnight earlier.

Now, he will be hoping to again be involved when Scotland head to the Stadio Olimpico next Saturday (March 12) – and hopefully pick up a first win with the national team.

READ MORE: Rory Darge's ‘unbelievable experience’ in Scotland debut

It caps a remarkable journey for the former North Berwick High School pupil.

Growing up in Aberlady, Darge signed his first professional contract with Edinburgh Rugby in the summer of 2020.

He then made the switch from the east of Scotland to the west and has enjoyed a breakthrough season with Glasgow, where he has caught the eye of Townsend.

Capped 13 times for Scotland under-20s, Darge was looking forward to the remaining two games of this year’s Six Nations.

After taking on an Italian side who are yet to pick up a point and have conceded 127 points in defeats to France, England and Ireland, Scotland wrap up the tournament against Ireland, who sit second in the table, a week later.

“They’re still huge games for us,” said Darge. “We have to look forward to them because they’re all we have left now in the tournament.

“We’re gutted that potentially we’re not going to be playing for as much as we could have been if we had beaten France but they’re still massive games.”

Among those in the stands in the Capital was dad Kevin and younger brother Harris, in third-year at North Berwick High School.

Kevin said: “I’m unbelievably proud and to get a try as well, I’m more chuffed for him.

“I have been following him since the beginning in the under-16s, the under-18s and the under-20s.

“He is his own man but I am super chuffed for him.”

Saturday proved to be a busy day for the family, with Harris representing North Berwick High School under-15s against Watsonians in the Capital that morning.

However, Harris’ match would be ended early after he suffered a dislocated patella. Kevin told Courier Sport that Rory was not made aware of the injury until after the game and said: “Harris dislocated his knee in September last year.

“Since then, he has played a few games, five or six, and it was an innocuous thing. His knee went, he was not hit by anybody, and we were going straight to the game afterwards.

“One of the other dads drove us to the Sick Kids.

“He had a quick wipe down and x-ray, making sure everything was OK, before we got to make our way.”