Harley eyeing large home support at Celtic Park
As one of the stalwarts of the club’s 2015 title triumph, Rob Harley is hoping to write another chapter in the story of his distinguished career this weekend.
The club’s record-appearance holder set his side on their way to glory in Belfast by crashing over the try line in the ninth minute, yet Harley himself remains modest when asked to recall his contribution that day.
“It was a great feeling,” he said.
“I remember Leone [Nakarawa] bursting through about five or six tacklers and then passing to me when everyone was beaten, so it wasn’t really much to do with me!
“It was great to score, though. We had tremendous travelling support that day, so I’m sure that’ll only be greater given we’re playing in Glasgow this time.”
Fast-forward four years, and Harley is one of 10 members of the matchday 23 from the 2015 final that will be in contention for a place in Dave Rennie’s squad this weekend. Whilst reluctant to compare his current team-mates to the 2015 vintage, the 28-year-old flanker insists that the squad will be meticulous in their preparations for Saturday’s showpiece event.
“It’s hard to compare the two teams against each other,” said Harley.
“I think what will benefit us is the fact that we’ve got a few boys who have played across both teams, so they’ll remember the feeling. The last time we went out and played well and weren’t inhibited by anything, so we’ll be training this week ready to hit our stride this weekend.
“If you look at the way we’ve been playing over the last few weeks, we’ve really focused in. We know that we have the quality in the side to go on and win the title – we’ve talked about it all year and we’re now one game away. It’s what the whole squad has been building towards all season.”
The prospect of being roared on by a packed Celtic Park is also one that Harley is relishing, with the Warrior Nation set to descend upon Glasgow’s east end in support of their team.
“It’s great to play in a final in Glasgow,” said the Warriors flanker.
“The semi-final was special with that bit of extra noise from the extended stands at Scotstoun – the crowd were excellent, urging us on from the first minute. That’s something we can look forward to on another level this weekend.
“Celtic Park is a great stadium. We’re really looking forward to packing out the stadium with our fans – last time we played in the final in Belfast it was like a home game for us with the number of our fans that made the trip, so we’re really looking forward to this weekend.”