DARCY Graham is out of Edinburgh’s two forthcoming European games and probably both 1872 Cup matches too as a result of the knee injury he sustained in last week’s defeat by Munster. A more definite prognosis is expected soon, but for the time being it remains a possibility that the Scotland winger could also be ruled out of the opening games of next year as well.
“Darcy is going to be a few weeks,” Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair said earlier today (Tuesday). “Not completely sure how long he will be out, but it will be longer than shorter.
“It’s around his MCL [medial collateral ligament]. We’ll have to wait and see. It didn’t look great at the time. He fell awkwardly around the ten-metre line – nothing malicious or anything like that, just an unfortunate one.
“People recover differently from these kind of things. We just need to assess it once the swelling has gone down and we get the results of the scan.”
Asked if Graham would be absent for the double-header against Glasgow Warriors on the 23rd and 30th of this month, as well as for Sunday’s Champions Cup tie at Saracens and next week’s home European game against Castres, Blair added: “Likely, yes. We should know soon how long exactly he will be out for.”
Blair believes he has adequate cover in the back three, especially with Emiliano Boffelli likely to be passed fit after sitting out last week’s league match. But even so, to lose a player of Graham’s calibre is a significant blow at a time of the season when big games are coming thick and fast.
“He has had a real bounce in his step,” the coach continued. “He started that way with us and continued that with Scotland, and he scored again on Friday night.
“But you know, you try and find silver linings to stuff like that. We are fortunate we have a number of back-three players that will come in and make an impact – we have some strength in depth there.
“Boffelli should be ready to go. He was out training just there. We’re comfortable with where he is at the moment.”
Chris Dean, who like Graham was taken off injured last week after scoring a try, is another player in the doubtful category for the trip to the StoneX Stadium. “He was excellent,” Blair said of the centre, who had been on top of his game on recent weeks.
“He took a bang to his head and is starting to go through the protocols. Fortunately it is a longer turnaround, but we’ll just have to see where that one lands when it comes to making a decision.”
Edinburgh won at Saracens last season, but that was in the Challenge Cup. The fact that both teams are now back in the top tier of European competition is sure to be a significant source of motivation for the squad, according to the coach.
“It was the Challenge Cup last year,” he added. “This is eating at the top table again, so we know they’ll bring a huge presence with them and a lot of confidence, but we also know the team we’ll put on the pitch can be a match for them.
“We have to find a way of wresting the momentum away from them and improve our own game. Yeah, it’s great to be playing Heineken Cup rugby and this is a real challenge for us.”