Interview
Rory Kerr
Rory Kerr talks of his enthusiasm for the game, and his future career plans, in this our first interview with members of the Glasgow Rugby squad.
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May 23, 2004

The Rory Kerr Interview

There's a country road out between Glasgow and Loch Lomond, which I became very well acquainted with last Saturday. My father has always said my sense of direction is appalling, but I blame the directions I was given. I was on the right road- I just couldn't find the right tractor...

A Country Boy: No rest for Rory during the close season as he helps on the family farmBefore you start scratching your heads, asking what on earth I could be doing, let me explain that it was all in the line of duty, a selfless act on behalf of glasgowwarriors.com.

Who else could we approach to do our first interview but Rory Kerr, who is at the heart of Glasgow Rugby, both on the pitch and in the beer tent? And as Rory is no ordinary player, then of course this was going to be no ordinary interview over a cappuccino in the West End!

When he's not playing or training, Rory can often be found in the fields with the tractor. It's a big red tractor- I don't know how I could have missed it. When it's a day like last Saturday, it's not hard to understand why. You can almost see Loch Lomond, where Rory goes to indulge in his other hobby, windsurfing.

So, it was in a break from working the land that Rory took the time to talk to glasgowwarriors.com

Now that the season has come to an end, we can be pretty confident that while Rory spends his summer on the farm or windsurfing, he will be keeping himself fit for next season. But what did he think of last season?

"Frustrating!" is his answer. "Everyone says the same. One game we were amazing, and then the next we were shit, but it's been difficult. There were three years with Richie Dixon and Rob Moffat, before the 'season from hell', and now we've been getting used to another set of new coaches, in the form of Hugh, Sean and Shade. It's clear we haven't gelled and need far more consistency in the team. We know the game has become faster, bigger and stronger and that's what we need to be if we want to be successful.

"I played a few games this season with injuries, and thought I'd be OK, but I only really played well in about 12 games this season. I'll know better next season..."

Glasgow need Massey Ferguson

So, what does Rory think Glasgow needs to make the breakthrough next season?

"A Massey Ferguson in the front row!" is his response. "Who's Massey Ferguson?", you may ask, as did I. Another antipodean import? "No, it's behind you" said Rory, as I turned to look at the large red tractor, with Massey Ferguson emblazoned along the side. Now how on earth could I miss Rory in his Massey Ferguson?

Rescuing my embarrassment, Rory, ever the gentleman, claims that it's consistency Glasgow requires for next season. "When the pack are playing well, we can be great. We've got a good backline. Sean Lamont's been playing so well, and Dave Millard is a good hard runner, with a bit of flair when he plays at centre."

But, what about him? Where does he see himself playing next season?

"Who knows? They might play Stuart Moffat at full back. But, I love to play at full back. I just need to get better at it. And the more I play, the better I'll get. I would love to be a really good full back- an even better full back than Snowy!

"I just need to work harder, and nail my consistency, whichever position I am playing in. Mondays are ten times better when you've won Friday's game. It makes a huge difference when all my friends and family are saying well done. I'm from a rugby community, so they all know!"

Back where it all began

Rory got into playing rugby through his Dad who played for Kelvinside, then Stirling County, the family's local club. Rory went with the Glasgow Thistles on tour to New Zealand in 1998.

"That was the best trip ever! It was hard work and there was pressure to improve, but it was sociable too, and the pressure wasn't the same as on an International tour."

Other players on that tour with him, include Ian McInroy (now playing for Cambridge University, where he studies Economics) and former Glasgow lock, Colin Stewart.

So, who are his own heroes and role models? He lists Irish winger Simon Geoghegan ("Bill McLaren called him the Electric Eel") and "... of course, Glenn Metcalfe. We played well together." Also, David Campese "and anyone who plays with flair."

Rory still remembers being awarded a prize at under-9 level with Stirling County by Matt Duncan. That's why he is so generous with his time with the young fans.

"It's good fun, to meet the kids, but it's important to give something back. I've not got nearly as many caps as Matt, but it would be great if kids remembered meeting a Glasgow pro player in the way I remember getting my award from Matt Duncan. There are a lot of guys in the squad who haven't come from a club background, but you have to put something back in."

Searancke regime 2002/2003

Getting back to last season under Kiwi Searancke and Steve Anderson, it must have been difficult for Rory to keep training and remain enthusiastic when he wasn't getting a game. "I was desperate to play rugby. There's nothing worse than training all week, and then not getting on to play. I was close to signing with Newcastle, and going to them on loan, but the coaches wouldn't release me.

"Last year was hard, with so many guys being played ahead of me, but in retrospect, they weren't really the coaches from hell! They tried to change things and had some good ideas. They just didn't get the man-management right." Rory Kerr has always been a big favourite with Glasgow supporters

Most observers thought Rory had managed to do enough to secure a place in Scotland's World Cup squad. "I was gutted. It really was the lowest point in my career. I came off after the Welsh game, and although we didn't win, I genuinely thought I'd played well enough to secure my place. I thought I was up against Simon Webster, and I know I'd come from nowhere, but he had a pretty bad game against Ireland, and I admit I thought that was it. Jason White warned me that if you get a call from Arthur Hastie you're in, but if you get the call from Ian McGeechan you're not going. So, as soon as I answered the phone, and it was McGeechan, I knew.

"But this is what is important- you have to find out how strong you are when you're down, to see if you'll get back up.

Still in love with rugby

"I play rugby because I love it, but I have to look at it differently now. Glasgow supporters pay good money to watch us play, so we have got to be more professional. Our fans are the best in Scotland, and a lot better than having the Welsh crowds baying at us! I have to go out and put on a good performance each game for them. Though, I still really do love it."

There are still a few years ahead of him, but does he have any early plans for what he'll do when he finishes playing professionally?

"Well not really. But I'm still young, and I'd like to keep playing until I'm at least 27. Then I'd like to go travelling. With rugby, there is a lot of travelling, but you don't get to see much of the places you go to. I'd also do more windsurfing. I'd love to do some farming, but I don't know if I'm really cut out to be a farmer... we'll see."

And with that, it was back on the tractor for a quick spin around the field, and then back to my car to navigate my way out the field and home, relieved I wouldn't be reporting the signing of new prop, Massey Ferguson.

Many thanks to Rory for taking the time to talk to us, and showing why he is such a favourite with the Glasgow support. We hope next season brings him and Glasgow the success he's aiming for.

Posted by Julian on May 25, 2004 12:42 AM | Reply to this comment

"It's good fun, to meet the kids, but it's important to give something back. I've not got nearly as many caps as Matt, but it would be great if kids remembered meeting a Glasgow pro player in the way I remember getting my award from Matt Duncan."

What goes around, comes around. Rory came along for an evening coaching the p7s at West (where Matt is in charge of the Mini section!). They are still walking tall having had a Glasgow & Scotland player spend time with them. They can't wait to see if Rory will come back to see them next year! Top marks to a top bloke.

Posted by JK on May 25, 2004 11:03 AM | Reply to this comment

Good guy and a great article.

Posted by FJ! on May 25, 2004 11:32 PM | Reply to this comment

Good interview. Glad to read Rory wants to play full back. Hope the coaches have read this too. Well done the team for a good new feature.

Posted by JK on June 6, 2004 08:52 PM | Reply to this comment

I'm sure a lot of this kind of stuff goes on ie. Glasgow players helping out at clubs. It needs to be publicised more

Posted by Sid on July 28, 2004 11:11 AM | Reply to this comment

Go on rod - era franky mcavennie

Posted by Scott on August 8, 2004 11:02 AM | Reply to this comment

Nice one Rory! Let's have a stonkin season. Flair and skill is what Scottish rugby needs and that's why Glasgow fans shout, "give it to Rory!", when the rest of the team seem to be running out of ideas. The only bloke with enough pace and attitude to take over from the great Glenn!!

Posted by fallullah on October 26, 2004 06:04 PM | Reply to this comment

You've got to give it to rory, he's a fine looking chap-now give it to us rory-take your shirt off as we know the results are spectacular!

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