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Darcy Graham returns after 112 days on the sideline

By PA
Darcy Graham during an Edinburgh Rugby training session at the DAM Health Stadium, on March 21, 2023, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Darcy Graham will make his eagerly-awaited return from injury after being named in the starting XV for Edinburgh’s United Rugby Championship match away to Connacht on Saturday.

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Prior to sustaining medial collateral ligament damage at the start of December, the talismanic wing was the URC’s top try-scorer and was also on a high after his hat-trick in the national team’s victory over Argentina in the last of the Autumn Tests.

Graham is joined in the Edinburgh side by returning Scotland trio Blair Kinghorn, Sam Skinner and Grant Gilchrist, while WP Nel is on the bench.

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Duhan van der Merwe, Jamie Ritchie, Pierre Schoeman and Hamish Watson have been given the weekend off after their recent Six Nations exploits.

Head coach Mike Blair said: “It’s great to welcome some of our international guys back into the team, and to see Darcy back fit. He’s been in full training for the last couple of weeks and has been looking sharp, so having him back is a real boost.”

Edinburgh have had a poor season so far but Blair, who will step down as head coach at the end of the campaign, is intent on finishing strongly.

“You look at the bare stats of it and sitting in 12th position isn’t good enough,” he said. “We’ve had six losing bonus points. If we’d won three or four of those matches, which I believe were winnable, that would have put us in the play-off places.

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“We can look at reasons for why we are where we are but we’re not happy with where we are. We’ve got three games left to try and put that right but we’re also aware that it’s out of our hands a little bit (with regard to the play-offs).

“We’ve got to be as successful as possible and put ourselves in a strong position to make the top eight. We believe we’ve still got a huge amount to play for.

“There’s pride in what we’re doing, we’ll also have players back who have been away for long periods of time and we’ve also got a Champions Cup knockout game, and we want to finish the season on a high.”

EDINBURGH TEAM:
15. Emiliano Boffelli
14. Darcy Graham
13. Mark Bennett
12. James Lang
11. Damien Hoyland
10. Blair Kinghorn
9. Henry Pyrgos
1. Boan Venter
2. Stuart McInally
3. Lee-Roy Atalifo
4. Sam Skinner
5. Grant Gilchrist (186) CAPTAIN
6. Ben Muncaster
7. Connor Boyle
8. Viliame Mata

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REPLACEMENTS:
16. Dave Cherry
17. Luan de Bruin
18. WP Nel
19. Marshall Sykes
20. Glen Young
21. Ben Vellacott
22. Chris Dean
23. Nathan Sweeney

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