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Gordon William D'Arcy (born 10 February 1980 in Ferns, County Wexfordmarker) is an Irish rugby player, more specifically an inside centre. He is registered to Lansdowne RFC and plays for provincial and Magners League side Leinster.

Career

D'Arcy was a promising fullback for schools side Clongowes Woodmarker in the late 1990s, and on the eve of his Leaving Cert was called into the Irish squad for the tour of South Africa by coach Warren Gatland. However, because of his studies he declined that opportunity. On leaving school he joined the Lansdowne Rugby Club and made his Ireland debut on 15 October 1999 as a substitute against Romania during the World Cup. Following a falling out with his provincial coaches regarding his attitude - which almost drove him to retire from the game - D'Arcy was left out of the international setup for three years. His second game for his country came on 17 November 2002 as a late substitute in Ireland's 64-17 win over Fiji. He made a further three appearances as a substitute during 2003.

D'Arcy was not picked for the Irish squad for the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia, but was picked for the Leinster team during the absence of its World Cup players. It was then that he came into his own, playing some of the best rugby of his career at fullback/wing, where he displayed delightful skill in running from deep and finishing off the moves that he had started.

After the World Cup, an injury to Brian O'Driscoll, his Leinster team mate, saw D'Arcy move to outside centre, where he made a great impression. Owing to the further absence of O'Driscoll from the Irish squad for the first match of the Six Nations in that season against France, D'Arcy found himself in the number 13 jersey at international level. Such was his form that, on O'Driscoll's return, he kept his place, allowing the selectors to experiment with O'Driscoll at inside centre.

D'Arcy was voted player of the Six Nations tournament in 2004 as he helped inspire his country to the Triple Crown for the first time since 1985. What most impressed supporters was his ability to wrong-foot the flat-defence off passes from O'Driscolland to create space out of nothing; this was particularly appreciated in his performance against England at Twickenham. It seemed that a new type of centre partnership had been created, which superseded the grinding format preferred by international coaches, of using a crash centre at no.12 and ignoring the possibilities of quick offloads in the centre of the field. The new centre combination was also impressive in its hard and intelligent defence, which often converted into successful counter-attack.

Despite an injury plagued 2004-05 season, D'Arcy was named in the British and Irish Lions squad for their 2005 tour to New Zealand. But his performances during the tour were generally poor, and he reputedly refused to play in the final test against New Zealand, though he vehemently denies this. There were fears at that stage that his form during the 2003/04 season would prove to have been a flash in the pan. However, he has been back fully fit for Leinster and Ireland in the 2005/06 season and has impressed in a new-look, much more attack minded Leinster team.

D'Arcy played in all of Ireland's 2006 Six Nations matches, although not as impressive as in 2004, he beat more defenders than any other player, and showed glimpses of his talent. His return to top form continued during the autumn international series where his performances against Australia and South Africa contributed to back - to - back victories for the Irish team. D'Arcy now usually plays at inside centre for Leinster and Ireland with O'Driscoll outside him.

D'Arcy played in all of Ireland's 2007 Six Nations matches, and seemed back to full form as he picked up the RBS Six Nations Player Of The Tournament.

After sustaining a multiple fracture in his arm in the opening match of the 2008 Six Nations, versus Italy, D'Arcy missed the remainder of the season and only returned to Leinster in December 2008. He was a member of the victorious Ireland team that won the 2009 Six Nations Championship and Grand Slam. In May 2009, D'Arcy was named in the Barbarians squad to play England and Australia along with Ireland team mate Geordan Murphy and Leinster colleague Rocky Elsom., the Barbarians ended up beating England by 33 points to 26 with D'Arcy scoring one of the tries.

On 3 June 2009, D'Arcy was called up for the British and Irish Lions squad for the tour in South Africa.

Personal life

Gordon regularly partakes in charity work, including work for Barretstown, GOAL.ie, personal appearances at various children's hospitals in Dublin and work with Brainwave (epilepsy society in Ireland) and the Irish MS society.

Gordon is enrolled in UCD 1st year arts for the academic year 2007/08. He is from County Wexford, being a fan of the county's GAA teams. Gordon is a very popular figure with Leinster and Ireland supporters, and is known for his affable easy-going personality and his generosity.

References

  1. http://www.irishrugby.ie/283_17196.php


External links




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