Challenge Cup: Edinburgh v Castres: Darcy Graham set to return for hosts

Emiliano Boffelli still another week away

Darcy Graham is expected to make his first Edinburgh appearance of the season against Castres on Saturday. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Darcy Graham is expected to make his first Edinburgh appearance of the season against Castres on Saturday. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

EDINBURGH will be boosted by the return from a hip injury of Darcy Graham for his first appearance of this season as they look to get their Challenge Cup campaign on track against Castres at the Hive Stadium this coming Saturday lunchtime.

However, fellow international back-three man Emiliano Boffelli is still another week away from his return to club action following the toe injury he sustained in Argentina’s World Cup 3rd/4th place play-off defeat to England.

“Darcy is available for selection, we just haven’t decided how we are going to use him yet,” confirmed Edinburgh lead coach Sean Everitt. “He was one of the best wings in the World Cup so it is great to have him back. He brings a wealth of experience and he certainly excites people on counter attack and that is what Castres is going to offer us.


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“So, I am looking forward to having him back. Without Blair [Kinghorn] there, he offers us leadership in the back three as well and he is a world class try-scorer.

“It is exciting for the team, it is exciting for him and he is chomping at the bit to get back on the field, and for me, not having worked with him, it is great to see him back out there. He is very receptive for information, and we listen to him as well because he has experience.

“One thing I am big about is work-rate and effort and he certainly has got that and that is why he gets so many touches on the ball, so his challenge is to outplay the likes of Duhan [van der Merwe] and Wes [Goosen] when he gets the opportunity because they have been going well.

“It is always good to have a player as good as Darcy back and the crowd will be pleased to see him back on the field.

“Emiliano has joined training this week,” Everitt added. He’s got through the unit sessions and will join full training again on Thursday. Hopefully if there are not any hiccups during Thursday’s training he will be available for selection the following week.

Everitt also confirmed that he plans to recall international forwards Pierre Schoeman, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie and fit again Dave Cherry to the side this weekend, after they missed last weekend’s away loss to Clermont, but WP Nel is a doubt.

“WP is struggling still with an adductor. It is a wait and see thing. Other than that I think we are okay,” he said.

 

Meanwhile, Everitt wouldn’t be drawn on reports linking Fijian No 8 Viliame Mata to a move to Bristol Bears.

“Who wouldn’t want him in their franchise after the way he performed in the World Cup,” he responded. “There will be a lot of our players being spoken to behind our backs, that is just the nature of the game. At the same time, we are looking to beef up our squad. So, I don’t think it changes from franchise to franchise.

“Bill is one of the best players in his position and a sought after player, but we just don’t know at this stage what the final offers are.

“It depends what the offer is and the finances involved. As a person we would be delighted to keep him here. He is a great man who gets on well with everybody in the group. He is well liked in the squad and that plays a big part in trying to keep someone here and gives us hope, but at the end of the day we are not in control of the finances.

“Whatever comes of it, we’ll support him either way. We know he is popular with the Edinburgh fans too and it would be great if Edinburgh could keep him.”

It has been reported that Mata, who is now 32 and been at Edinburgh for eight years, is on a salary of £450,000, which is unlikely to be repeated given the requirement on Scottish Rugby to get costs back under control after reporting a £10.5m deficit in the last financial year up to the end of May 2023.

“I don’t know about that figure of £450,000 but we all know that players that are world class demand a big pay cheque and that is fair,” said Everitt.

“You can replace anyone. Nobody is irreplaceable but it is the character that you need to replace and that’s important to me.”

  • Claire Cruikshank has been unveiled as Women’s team Head Coach for the upcoming Celtic Challenge campaign, which kicks off against Glasgow Warriors on

    Following the recently announced return of the Celtic Challenge, the competition confirmed its new look line-up to feature this season, which included two Scottish teams aligned to Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors.

    Cruikshank, who is Head of Performance Ladies’ Rugby at Edinburgh University, is a former Scotland internationalist, was previously head coach for the Swedish Women’s national team and is current head coach of the Scotland U20 team.

    Full coaching team:

    Head Coach: Claire Cruickshank
    Team Manager: Rosalynn Walsh
    Assistant Coach: Stuart Corsar
    Assistant Coach: Euan Mochrie
    Development Coach: Andrew Whitelaw
    Development Coach: Ross McCann
    Strength and Conditioning Coach: Drew Scott
    Physio: Emily Geddes

  • Edinburgh Rugby ‘A’ will play Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Friday 9th February (kick-off 7.45pm), with opportunities to help raise funds for the My Name’5 Doddie charity.

    Tickets are now on sale, priced at just £10 for adults and £5 for under-18s, with 10 percent donation from sales of an exclusive hat to be made to My Name’5 Doddie, the charity set up by the late Doddie Weir which is striving to find a cure for motor neurone disease.

    There will be further opportunities to donate on the night.


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About David Barnes 3821 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

2 Comments

  1. Hadn’t realised Bill had been with us 8 years and it would certainly be sad to see him go. He’s been one of the best Edinburgh players ever – always gives 100%.

    The salary is interesting and if the SRU are going to let a lot of the highly paid players move on to try and address the increase in costs in other areas this would be a disaster for the 2 pro teams. They are after all the front line of professional rugby and struggle to make their mark in Europe so anything that weakens them is bad news. The SRU should focus on reducing costs in some of the non playing areas ie administration and other staff numbers that have increased hugely in recent years.

  2. Will be very sorry to see Big Bill depart, he seems to have come back to his best in the last few games ….

    But also be very nice to see Darcy and Emilianno back 👍

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