Rory Darge admits he is excited for Scotland’s summer tour of the Americas and hopes he is on the place for Gregor Townsend’s side.

The squad picked for the games against Canada, USA, Chile and Uruguay may differ from normal Scotland selections with many viewing it as more of a developmental tour with some of the bigger names likely to be left out to rest over the summer before returning to club action and then the Autumn Tests.

Darge was co-captain during the Six Nations alongside Finn Russell and even if the latter recovers from the groin injury he picked up playing for Bath, he’s unlikely to head on this tour.

That could mean Darge is named as captain on his own if he travels or someone else could step up to be part of the group but there’s no doubt in his mind that he wants to be heading to play for his country again this summer.

He said: “Of course I want to go on tour. Any time you get to play for Scotland is an absolute honour. But we’ll wait and see. I’m not sure what’s going to happen. Obviously I want to go and I’m sure most of the boys do. Aside from the privilege of playing for your country there are some cool places to go and see that you might not otherwise visit.

“I feel good. I had that mid-season MCL injury that kept me six weeks away from rugby. It was relatively short-term and got back quickly from it and I’m fine. But that break was good to allow me to mentally recharge.

“As tough as injuries can be I had the run-in to the World Cup, then the World Cup, then coming back to Glasgow. So getting those six weeks off was massive for me. I feel good and mentally ready for all the games coming up. That’s part of learning as a pro.

“When you first come in you can become quite drained mentally when it’s game after game. It’s about learning how to manage that so you’ve got a better understanding of what you need to do to deliver. That’s something I’ve got better off.”

Scotland Rugby News: Rory Darge

Darge is a big part of the set up for Franco Smith too and with Glasgow Warriors set to welcome Sharks to Scotstoun on Friday night, he’s excited for the run in to the URC.

Warriors currently sit second in the table behind Leinster and a home playoff is likely should they finish the season as strongly as they have performed all campaign.

They’re unbeaten at home and there’s a real sense that something special can be achieved when the prizes are handed out at the end of the playoffs in June.

There’s five regular season games to go before that starting with the Sharks before three away games. Zebre is the first of those before two games in South Africa when they take on the Bulls and the Lions. They round off their season on May 31 against Zebre before the playoffs begin and they will be hoping for a home tie once again.

They haven’t played since defeat to Harlequins in the Champions Cup and Darge is chomping at the bit to get back out on the pitch and in front of Glasgow’s fans once more.

He continued: “Obviously I’d rather have been playing but it was good. There was still a lot of training, Franco gets the boys working hard, but it was a week well spent and then we got the weekend to recover, physically and mentally.

Scotland Rugby News: Franco Smith

“It’s hard the first couple of sessions after a loss that felt like a bit of a gut punch. We felt like we missed a couple of opportunities in that one. When a game is close like that you always rue not taking those chances. So the boys have plenty motivation after that one.

“Where you finish is obviously massive and then how you prepare for those knock-out games. But how you play in the build-up to those is very important as well. Every game is important in terms of performance not just result.

“Our record points towards how important playing at home is for us. There’s a really good atmosphere here and this weekend it’s Plaster It Purple where a lot of money is going to be raised for charity, the Glasgow children’s hospital. Every time we’ve done it there’s been a good atmosphere. It’s a big thing for the club.

“That Munster game in the quarter-finals there was the early red card but we looked at it after and there were loads of things we could have done better. The final against Toulon also sticks out as the game where we didn’t really fire a shot.

“We didn’t show what we were about. We’ve got better in that regard and we fired some shots in the Harlequins game but there were still a couple of chances we left out there. And discipline in the first half was also a big issue. But we’re all desperate to win these games.”

Sharks haven’t been firing on all cylinders in the URC this season but they’ve been impressive in the Challenge Cup and defeated Edinburgh last weekend, not that Darge caught it on TV after spending time with some teammates at Lucio Sordoni’s house for a barbeque.

He added: “I didn’t watch it live as I was at Lucio’s house and he put on a barbecue. So I was trying to relax. But with Sharks coming up it will be interesting to see how that Edinburgh game went. I’ve not watched it with an analyst’s eye yet. That will be more during the build-up and we can see what opportunities there are and what threats they pose too.

“Their squad speaks for itself. They’ve got some world class players so will be a tough team to beat. We just have to take every game as it comes because of the importance of playing well and building into this crucial period.”