BRISTOL-born Darren Barry has admitted his boyhood club’s decision to release him has proved to be the best thing that had ever happened to him.
The 25-year-old has made an instant impact since arriving at Sixways in the summer as he has featured in all four of Worcester Warriors’ Aviva Premiership games so far this season.
However, the giant lock told The Observer his ‘dream’ of playing in the top flight might not have been possible if he had not received a life-changing offer in 2012.
Back then, Barry had just suffered the disappointment of being let go by his beloved Bristol and was bracing himself to play in National Two South.
But Cornish Pirates then offered him the chance to stay in the Championship.
Barry, who made 60 appearances for Bristol, said it was a deal which was too good to turn down and one which helped transform his career.
“I left Bristol disappointed with the lack of opportunities as I certainly believed I was good enough to be playing in the first team,” he said.
“But looking back it was probably the best decision that was made by Liam Middleton, the coach at the time, to let me go and the best thing that could have happened to me.
“If Cornish Pirates hadn’t come in with a last-minute deal, I would have been playing for Clifton or Hartpury College, so they saved me.
“They kept me in the Championship and their coach, Ian Davies, gave me a lot of confidence and the opportunity to prove myself.”
Since then, Barry has not looked back. He had three strong seasons at Mennaye Park with the Pirates before securing a move to newly-promoted Warriors.
But the 6ft 6in second row said he has been just trying to take everything in his stride as he looks to build on his impressive start to his Worcester career.
“I have been lucky enough to have been given a chance to start of the season playing first-team rugby, so it is just a case of taking those opportunities,” he said.
“Every rugby player has dreams to play at the highest level and there is a certain age in which you feel you can fulfil those.
“I am still only 25 and I am still fighting to be able to call myself a Premiership rugby player. “I don’t think you can call yourself that after a few games, so I know I have got a long way to go before I can be proud of what I have achieved.”