DARCY Graham found himself in a novel position playing for Edinburgh against Glasgow last week – scrum-half, after his team-mate Nic Groom became the fifth player in the game to be yellow-carded by referee Ben Blain. To those of us who have watched Graham come infield as first receiver in some games for his club, it was an intriguing glimpse of a possible new role for the winger. But according to Graham himself, it is not a role he will be at all anxious to continue in the longer term.
“It came on the radio for me to check in to scrum-half and that was a bit of fun,” he said, his wincing expression suggesting it was not unmitigated enjoyment to find himself slotting into the most athletically demanding position on the field. “My lungs were going those last ten [minutes]. I had never played there before . . . . I suppose I did at sevens.
“I felt I was back to my old self out there, looking for the ball,” he continued, referring to his performance over the whole game, which Edinburgh lost 20-16. “And although I’m disappointed with the result I enjoyed the game.
“Both teams went out hard and it was very close. It was pretty even the whole game, but fair play to Glasgow. We have this week to put things right and we’re looking forward to that challenge.
“We played really well and the game was there for us, which is why we’re so disappointed. We have them next week and hope to put things right. Our game was going very well out there. Nothing’s going to change going into [the return match at Murrayfield].”
In terms of Edinburgh’s approach, Graham may well be right to say that they will not alter how they go about things. They will, of course, want to cut down on the unforced errors which coughed up possession from time to time at Scotstoun, and they may well want to spend a little time in training later this week practising lineout defence after Warriors hooker George Turner scored the decisive try from a maul that had begun with a Glasgow throw-in. But in general, not too much went wrong.
It was a match that could have gone either way, so it is unlikely that Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill and his assistants will rip up last week’s game plan and start with a completely clean sheet of paper.
Normally a hero to Scotland supporters, Graham was subjected to some mainly light-hearted criticism from the Glasgow crowd after he was obstructed off the ball by Ruaridh Jackson, who was sinbinned for his pains. “I was getting abuse after Jacko’s yellow card, but I just laughed it off,” the Edinburgh player said.
Edinburgh trained more or less as usual yesterday and will have some duties today as well, but at least they will have tomorrow off to enjoy the festivities, which for Graham means a trip back to Hawick for the day. He and his team-mates then report back for duty on Boxing Day, when the countdown to the second instalment of this season’s derby will begin in earnest.