EDINBURGH senior coach Sean Everitt says the club will do their best to hold on to Blair Kinghorn after the full-back was linked with a move to Toulon.
A report in The Rugby Paper on Sunday said that the Challenge Cup holders were hopeful of recruiting the 26-year-old, whose contract expires at the end of the season. Everitt is well aware of the financial clout that Toulon and other leading French clubs have, but believes that Kinghorn’s departure is by no means inevitable.
“We’d love to keep Blair,” the South African said earlier today (Tuesday 7th). “I’ve said before that he’s a man with immense talent. We’d like to keep Blair and his contract is up at the end of the season, but hopefully we can renew it.
“It’s not often that you get a full-back with that counter-attacking ability. He’s able to turn a game on its head like you saw at the weekend [against Leinster]. He received a long kick and he waltzed through the defence to put James Lang away for a try. He’s a great player and he’s versatile as well.
“He’s played at 10 a lot for Edinburgh and he can play at wing or centre. He’s definitely worth keeping.”
The majority of new signings are timed to take effect when a player’s contract expires, but Everitt knows from personal experience that some French clubs do not need to wait. “I’m not sure about what his worth is,” the coach continued. “I know about the finances in French rugby from my time in South Africa. Siya Kolisi was bought out of his contract at the Sharks, so there is a lot of money.
“But it’s also about what Blair wants to do. I’m sure that Edinburgh would like to keep Blair here, because it’s his home. Ultimately it’s his decision and hopefully it’s going towards Edinburgh.”
Asked if he had talked to Kinghorn about it, Everitt added: “No, because I’ve just heard rumours like you have. I don’t listen to rumours – but I know when there’s smoke, there is fire.”
Despite Kinghorn’s best efforts, Edinburgh lost to Leinster last week – their first defeat of the URC season after winning their opening two games. Their next match is a home tie on Saturday against Connacht, the only team in the URC to have won all three of their competitive fixtures so far.
The Irish province also won 45-19 at the Hive Stadium in a pre-season friendly, so Everitt knows his team face a tough fight. “Connacht had a good comeback against Ulster, so it’s a team who doesn’t go away,” he continued. “We know they’ve got that fight within themselves and we know it’s not going to be an easy team to play against.
“We were disappointed with our performance from the weekend and we need to look at that. It was extremely disappointing to lose like that when we had opportunities. The boys will be keen to bounce back and show what they can do against an unbeaten Connacht team. Every team is beatable, however, and we will be going out to get the win on Saturday.
“We will try to get consistency in our selection so we can build cohesion. It’s not been easy across the last few weeks as we had a different team against the Dragons to our last friendly against Bath. Then we had new arrivals and another two new players last week.
“The more the team trains together and plays together, the better we’ll get. Against Leinster the effort was there, but it was just our inaccuracy. Sometimes it’s not about the number of inaccuracies or penalties, it’s about where you are conceding them. Unfortunately that played into their hands, because we had dominance for the first 20 minutes and the last 20.
“We just weren’t good enough in the middle part of the game as far as the error rate was concerned. We’ve had a chat about it as individuals and they need to look at themselves and see where we can fix it.”