Former West hero Harley hopes to lead Scotland to Six Nations glory

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FORMER West rugby player Robert Harley will make his debut at the RBS Six Nations Championship this weekend when he steps out at Murrayfield against Italy.

The 22-year-old, who came up through the ranks of West’s youth coaching programme, turned professional three years ago when he signed for Glasgow Warriors.

This will be the Milngavie rugby player’s second cap for his country - last year he came on against Samoa in the final 10 minutes and scored the winning try against the hosts in Scotland’s tour of the South Pacific.

The former Douglas Academy pupil was part of the West 1st XV for four seasons before turning professional and when the flanker comes out against Italy on Saturday he will be looking to repeat his performance against Samoa.

Former West president Gordon Cairns said: “We are rightly very proud of Robert. He has been very involved in the club for a long time and started in our mini section when he was about five.

“It is great for everyone at West to see such a talented player go on to play for his country. He has worked hard and this is his reward for it. We will all be cheering him and Scotland on this Saturday.”

Scotland’s interim head coach Scott Johnson brought in Harley and another player, Ross Ford, following the injury of Alasdair Strokosch and Dougie Hall who both picked up injuries in the Calcutta Cup defeat to England last Saturday.

Johnson said: “I had the pleasure of working with Robert on our tour last summer.

“He’s big and aggressive and he’s been knocking on the door for selection for a while. He deserves this chance as a reward for his club form.

“Italy’s victory over France in Rome was well deserved and certainly didn’t surprise us. It will be a true Test match this weekend and it would be great to have a big vocal Murrayfield crowd supporting the boys this weekend.”

Glasgow forward Harley, 22, makes his first start at Murrayfield, having scored the winning try against Samoa on the Scots’ tour of the South Pacific last summer.