URC: Edinburgh v Munster: capital side hit by Emiliano Boffelli back injury blow

Argentinean talisman won't play again this season

Emiliano Boffelli won't play for Edinburgh again this season. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Emiliano Boffelli won't play for Edinburgh again this season. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

EMILIANO BOFFELLI will not feature for Edinburgh again this season after his long-running battle with a back injury finally reached the point where decisive action needs to be taken.

The Argentinean back-three man returned from a two-month lay-off against Cardiff at the end of April, but managed just one game before being sideline again. Head coach Sean Everitt was initially hopeful that his player might feature again before the end of the campaign, but has now revealed that this will not be the case.

“Boff won’t be playing for us again this season,” said Everitt earlier today [Thursday]. “His injury has got worse and he’ll be seeing a specialist to determine a way forward.”

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“We are hoping that with the break we have now, and if he needs to have surgery and he has it now, then he’ll be raring to go at the start of next season.

“He’s been carrying this problem – nerve damage in his back – for three to four years now and I think it has got to the stage where it can’t be managed anymore, so it needs to be surgically repaired, but we’ll leave that up to the specialist to determine the way forward from here.”

The loss of Boffelli – allied to the mid-season departure of Blair Kinghorn and the long-term absence through injury of Darcy Graham  is a blow to Edinburgh, who started the campaign with one of the most exciting back-three line-ups in European club rugby but are now having to press centre Matt Currie into the action on the wing.

However, there is no time to feel sorry for themselves with a do-or-die home clash against Munster on the agenda at tomorrow [Friday] night, as they push to make the URC play-offs.

“We’re playing against the champions of the URC who are in form at the moment, and we all know what they did at the back end of last season by winning eight games to come from nowhere to get into the knock-outs and then win the competition, so that’s number one,” said Everitt, when asked to assess the challenge his side faces.

“Number two is for us. Results over the last two or three weeks haven’t gone our way, it has always been in our own hands, and it is still in our own hands because if we get a win at the weekend then it will be massive for us going forward with our goal of getting into top eight – otherwise you are in a real pressure-cooker in the last game against Benetton [in a fortnight’s time].

“We know that we need to win to keep our destiny in our own hands, and that’s why it’s such an important game for us.

“We set ourselves goals, we said we wanted to win seven games at home [in the URC this season], and we’ve done that, but seven games at home now is not going to be enough.

“If we can get eight games at home and we can get an extra win away which we had planned for then we should be sitting high up in the top eight, by which I mean fifth, sixth or seventh.”

“We enjoy a challenge. I said to the players during the week that it is great that we have a purpose, and our purpose is to get into the top eight.

“There’s nothing worse than getting to the latter stages of the season and the season is over and you are trying to find emotional reasons why you need to win on the weekend.

“We’ve grown as a team in our performances in certain areas, while there are certain areas we still need to work on. It is never going to be perfect in your first season here, but I believe that the guys have bought in, and are willing to put in an 80-minute performance tomorrow night.

“Against Benetton [back in November], we squeezed it for 40 and then we came out at half-time and squeezed it for another 13 minutes and then allowed them back into the game,” he added. “Against better teams when you get into quarter-finals and semi-finals and finals you can’t allow those lulls in an 80-minute game. It’s got to be an 80-minute game from 1 to 80.

“Against Zebre [last week], which is fresh in my mind, we were 10 minutes off and they scored a try and put us under a bit of a pressure. The beauty of rugby is it’s not always going to go your way but it’s how you get out of those lulls in the game. It’s trying to prevent ourselves from putting pressure on us by giving away unnecessary penalties and then compounding those mistakes. If you do that against Munster then you’re definitely going to pay for it.”



Everitt acknowledged that his team have had access to some insider knowledge going into this weekend’s match, with playmaker Ben Healy coming through the ranks at Munster before switching to Edinburgh at the start of this season, but the coach insisted that he has not leant too heavily on that during his match preparation.

“We talked to him but haven’t gone into depth about what Munster do,” he said. “We’ve got a very efficient analysis department and all coaches do analysis. What we’ve seen is pretty much what Munster bring in, week-in and week-out, performance-wise.

“For Ben, it’s about him focusing on his game and not on what Munster does. There are certain areas of our game that we need to improve on and we don’t want to take our focus off of that. For us to get a result we have to get our things right and we’ve not always done that for 80 minutes.”

The coach finished with some words of praise for flanker Jamie Ritchie, who has endured a tricky season in which he not only lost the Scottish captaincy but his place in the national team.

“Jamie has been outstanding for us over the last several weeks,” said Everitt. “And what the general public don’t see is what he also brings off the field from a leadership point of view.

“He’s certainly taken on the challenge of getting back in the Scotland team seriously. He wants to play for Scotland and is proud to play for Scotland – and his club. And he’s certainly putting in performances that warrant that.

“He’s won the most turnovers in the URC but he’s not only doing it on the floor, he’s always doing it in other ways. He’s always wining aerial battles for us and his ball carrying over several weeks has been influential in us getting momentum.

“So all aspects of his game have improved considerably. He is a big figure in our team, he brings the physicality and drive that’s needed on the field. And he certainly has the competitive edge.”

URC: Edinburgh v Munster: hosts make one change as play-off battle intensifies

About David Barnes 4001 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The 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.

1 Comment

  1. Very sad news. With Steele being announced earlier in the week as having to hang uo his boots we are not short of serious long term injuries. Also have Darcy out for the season. You do wonder if this could be a career ending injury for Boffelli – lets hope not and we can get all the injured back for the start of next season.

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