1872 Cup: Blair Kinghorn sees ‘fine margins’ as decisive

Edinburgh full-back praises back-three team-mates Darcy Graham and Duhan van der Merwe

Blair Kinghorn (far left) watches as team-mate Mark Bennett attacks against Glasgow. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson.

BLAIR Kinghorn believes that there were only “fine margins” between his Edinburgh team and Glasgow in last week’s first 1872 Cup match, and thinks that greater defensive solidity could be the key to turning the tables at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The full-back scored his team’s only try in their 20-16 loss at Scotstoun, while the Warriors scored twice, through Ali Price and George Turner. However, while he praised Glasgow’s ability to conjure tries out of nowhere, Kinghorn suggested that Edinburgh will not need to do too much differently this week.

“We know Glasgow can score out of nowhere and they did that for the first try [last week],” he said. “There was just a couple of times we lost our shape in the middle of the park. 

“But I think it’s always a game of fine margins between these teams, no-one’s ever going to run away with it. We just came out of it on the wrong side.”

Asked if Edinburgh planned to do anything radically different on Saturday, the 22-year-old was non-committal. “That’s confidential,” he said, laughing.

A drastic upheaval is unlikely. If Edinburgh can keep their shape, they have arguably as much firepower as Glasgow, not least in the back three, where Kinghorn combines with wingers Darcy Graham and Duhan van der Merwe in a versatile mix of of physical power and elusiveness, with Van der Merwe epitomising the former quality, Graham the latter, and Kinghorn being somewhere in between.

Kinghorn scored that try and Graham had a couple of threatening runs,  and although Van der Merwe had a quiet night by his standards, he still had the odd moment in which he powered his way through a tackle.  The encouraging thing for Edinburgh supporters – as well as a worrying thought for fans of other teams – is that the trio have the bulk of their careers still ahead of them – Graham is the same age as Kinghorn, and Van der Merwe is 24. “I think our back three is one of the most dangerous out there,” Kinghorn said. “We back ourselves. 

“Darcy’s got great feet and can cut around people from nowhere, while Duhan, he’s very fast and disruptive. I’m very grateful to be able to play with them.

“We’ve got a lot of depth there now, so there’s good competition for places. It’s great to see Duhan get his 50th for the club. He’s only really played here two and a half seasons because he was injured in his first season. To rack up that number of caps in that amount of time is outstanding, so I’m really happy for him. He’s been a great addition to the club.” 

Born in George in South Africa’s Western Cape, Van der Merwe will become eligible to play for Scotland in the summer, and it has been obvious for some time that he has the requisite qualities to play Test rugby. For the time being, though, Kinghorn does not want to look so far ahead, contenting himself instead with admiring his team-mate’s performances for Edinburgh.

“It could happen, but it’s a long way away,” he said of the prospect of the Edinburgh back three becoming the Scotland back three – he and Graham, of course, are already regulars in Gregor Townsend’s squad.  “I think Duhan’s definitely good enough to play internationally – he’s learning more and more about the game and his positional stuff is getting so much better. 

“I feel comfortable playing with him in the backfield. When teams kick loose to him he’s disruptive. It’s great to see him charging back at them.”

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About Stuart Bathgate 1156 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.