Gordon D’Arcy On The Surprising Position He Started Off In Before Eventually Becoming A Centre

Jason Hennessy

Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor here at RugbyLAD and a proud Limerick man.
Jason Hennessy

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Most people are aware of the fact that Gordon D’Arcy started out as a fullback in the professional game before a few injuries at Leinster saw him move into the centre where he would become a fixture for both club and country for many years to come.

But did you know a young Gordon D’Arcy started out as hooker? Yes, the same Gordon D’Arcy who formed one half of arguably Ireland’s greatest ever centre partnership was once a front-row.

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And only for some advice from his old schools coach he might never had made the switch into the backs in the first place.

Speaking on this week’s episode of the Up & Under Podcast, D’Arcy recalled how he used to strap his hands like legendary Wallabies winger David Campese and wander out in the backline regularly.

His coach then pulled him aside one day gave him some solid advice.

“I started as a hooker,” D’Arcy told us.

“I actually met my coach from school [recently] and he reminded me that even though I played as a hooker I used to get my hands strapped like David Campese.

But Keith Wood would have been the inspiration I would have modelled an awful lot of my game on playing at that age. 

“Eventually it came to a head and with much frustration from my coach who came to me and said, ‘Look, if you’re going to stay out at 15 like Keith Wood, you might as well become a 15!’”

“I turned to centre quite late, it like was a career change at 23 just because Brian [O’Driscoll] was injured and we needed a stop gap 13.”

You can listen to the full Gordon D’Arcy interview on this week’s episode of Up & Under Podcast here.

Rugby Players Ireland this week announced that Gordon D’Arcy will join a host of iconic Irish rugby heroes in the Rugby Players Ireland Hall of Fame. D’Arcy joins former teammates from the 2009 Grand Slam winning campaign such as John Hayes (2012), David Wallace (2015) and Ronan O’Gara (2016), while his longstanding centre partner Brian O’Driscoll (2018) also counts amongst an illustrious list. D’Arcy’s magnificent career will be celebrated at the Zurich Irish Rugby Players Rugby Awards which will be broadcast on Virgin Media Two at 7:30pm this Saturday.