It is great to score but you want to smash a few people says Scotland's Rob Harley ahead of Six Nations clash against Italy

Scotland lost their opening match to England

Given that the Italian rugby battalion will be heading to Scotland on Saturday intent on succeeding where Hadrian's Roman legions historically failed – in the deliverance of a knockout blow to Caledonia – it is probably just as well that Scott Johnson has called up a reinforcement who considers the perfect feeling on a rugby field to be the raw-boned thrill of "smashing someone" rather than the glory of scoring a try.

On water-carrying squad duty in the 38-18 defeat at Twickenham last Saturday, Rob Harley has been promoted to the starting XV as a replacement for the injured Alasdair Strokosch, nominally at blindside flanker but – in the absence of a specialist No 7 – with a remit to interchange with Kelly Brown in the coverage of openside duties. "Rob has shown his ability to do the seven role at Glasgow," Johnson, Scotland's interim head coach, said of the flame-haired 22-year-old. "He's been abrasive at times, and when you've got a red head you've got a right to be angry, haven't you? He provides a bit of starch that I'm happy to have."

That starch will doubtless be needed against an Italy team who will be scenting Caldenonian blood on the back of their Roman conquest against the French last Sunday. Harley has already made his mark for his country. His debut was as a replacement against Samoa in Apia in June when he clinched the 17-16 victory with a last-minute try.

"As great as it is to score a try, I think if you smash someone like Jason White used to do that is the perfect feeling on a rugby pitch," Harley said after being named as one of two changes (Ross Ford comes in for Dougie Hall at hooker) by Johnson. "I used to love watching Jason White play for Scotland. He would just go out there and smash people in the tackle."

Indeed he would. At the peak of his swashbuckling powers, as captain and blindside flanker in the Scotland team that won three out of five matches in the 2006 Six Nations, White was memorably described by his back row colleague Simon Taylor as "the kind of brute you can imagine clearing skulls with a battle axe, or one of those spiky balls on a chain, in days of yore".

Harley, it seems, is cut from the same rugged tartan cloth. "I have always enjoyed the physical side of rugby," he said. "That is what it is all about. You want to come in and smash a few people."

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?