Darry's move to Auckland paying dividends

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A highly-regarded locking prospect from the Christchurch schools system, Darry has thrived amid Blues' locking woes in 2021, and he has quickly settled into making his contribution to the side.

 

"I came in always wanting to push for a spot, but I knew I was young, and I've got a lot of development to do. I probably thought of it more as a development year.

 

"But, obviously, I'm stoked to be getting the playing time that I am. It is slightly unfortunate circumstances due to the injuries to Paddy [Patrick Tuipulotu] and Josh [Goodhue] being out," he said.

 

When he looked at the season ahead at the start of the build-up, he did not set his sights too high.

 

"I expected I might get a run in one of the Aussie games, but to get thrown in there, in what was our second game of the season, against the Highlanders was pretty special.

 

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"It is a massive step up from anything I've ever done. You definitely notice that physicality when people hit. They don't really miss at this level, you find that out pretty quickly," he said.

 

The opportunity for the amount of game time he has enjoyed has left him grateful and looking forward with confidence.

 

Darry said last weekend's game with the Crusaders was the most physical game he had played, and it was another example of his education in how rugby is played at that level.

 

"You can learn as much as you want on the training field, but you've got to be putting it into practice on the playing field and learning as you go.

 

"I find when I play, I come away from a game thinking, 'I need to do that better next time' or 'people are doing this at that certain time'. They are just those little things you can only learn from getting game time," he said.

 

One of the earliest lessons to absorb was the long phases of play. At lower levels of rugby, errors occurred more frequently than at Super Rugby level.

 

"You get used to playing for a couple of minutes then an error happens whereas now you have to stay on and keep going," he said.

 

The loss to the Crusaders had been tough, but the side still had a lot of belief and was looking forward to the Chiefs game on Saturday, which was always a big contest for the Blues.

 

And they wanted to build some momentum going into the trans-Tasman competition.

 

"We have a unique situation this year playing in two competitions. We've been knocked out of the first one, but now have another to look forward to," he said.

 

Playing in Melbourne and Brisbane would be something a little different and another extension of the exposure he has enjoyed, he said.