November 14, 2017 / 10:49 AM / in a year

Scotland's Marfo on verge of fairytale elevation to test ranks

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scotland’s new prop Darryl Marfo is looking forward to an almost implausible weekend match-up against world champions New Zealand at Murrayfield just three months after being without a club.

Rugby Union - Autumn Internationals - Scotland vs Samoa - Murrayfield Stadium , Edinburgh, Britain - November 11, 2017 Scotland’s Darryl Marfo during the warm up before the match Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough

The 27-year-old London-born loosehead has had a fairytale rise up the ranks in the last weeks, not long after he considered giving up the game because he ‘needed money’.

“It would have been a stretch to believe six months ago,” he admitted after making his test debut on Saturday in Scotland’s 44-38 win over Samoa at Murrayfield.

“First and foremost you want to show your team mates and the coaches, the people whose trust and respect you want to earn. It was nice for me to go out and play as I did. Of course I enjoyed it. Loved it. Obviously, there are things to improve too.”

At the start of the season Marfo was without a club after a short-term contract with Bath ended.

He chanced his luck on Edinburgh needing reinforcements after Allan Dell’s injury on the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand, sending them an e-mail offering his services.

Marfo was effectively only fourth-choice behind Dell, Alasdair Dickinson and Rory Sutherland and then found himself even lower in the pecking order when Italian loosehead Michele Rizzo arrived from Leicester Tigers on loan a month later.

But injuries to the first three saw him elevated to the bench and then Rizzo was red-carded and suspended, allowing Marfo to play and make his mark. A Scotland call-up came when Glasgow’s Gordon Reid was injured and Marfo was picked to play last Saturday as coach Gregor Townsend decided on an all-Edinburgh front row to start the test against Samoa.


“Injuries were not fortunate for me in the past. Now they are helping me a bit, though nobody likes to see their team mates injured,” he said.

Marfo’s own career has been blighted by misfortune, starting at Harlequins where he spent six years battling with a run of injuries before moving to London Welsh, who went bust 18 months after his arrival.

“There were very real thoughts of having to pack it in at that stage,” he said. “I know I’m a good player but sometimes it’s about supply and demand and if no one’s demanding a loosehead prop then I can’t supply that for them. It then becomes a case of having to earn money.

“I’m a person who doesn’t look much into things that have happened in the past and try not to look far forward into the future.

“I have a day-by-day attitude, give the best I can. There are things you can control and things you can’t. What happens, happens,” added Marfo.

Scotland host the All Blacks on Saturday, after which they host Australia at Murrayfield on Nov. 25.

Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly;; +27828257807; Reuters Messaging: Reuters Messaging:

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