EDINBURGH tight-head prop Javan Sebastian has been sidelined for six to eight weeks with a knee injury (meaning he is likely to miss the start of the Six Nations).
Tight-head prop is a position where Scotland lacks depth, especially after the retirement of Simon Berghan last summer.
With Sebastian, who was the third No 3 at the recent World Cup, now a major doubt, and Murphy Walker already out for “a couple of months” after undergoing surgery on his knee last week, it is not clear who will provide back-up to Zander Fagerson and 37-year-old WP Nel during the upcoming Six Nations.
D’Arcy Rae, capped once by Scotland off the bench against Ireland during the 2019 Six Nations, joined Edinburgh on a year-long deal in October and made his debut for the club last weekend. Glasgow Warriors reprised the Oli Kebble as a tight-head experiment against Bayonne last weekend.
Beyond that, New Zealander Angus Williams, who qualifies for Scotland through his Edinburgh-born mother, and who has played 24 games for the capital side with eight starts during the last four years, is the only other eligible tight-head currently on a senior contract with either of the county’s two pro team – which highlights the absurdity of the SRU’s recent claim that spending money on pro player wages is a strategic investment rather than a standard cost.
As an outside bet, 33-year-old Steven Longwell, the globetrotting former Ayr tight-head, made his Bristol Bears debut off the bench during last weekend’s Champions Cup defeat away to Bordeaux-Begles.
Meanwhile, on the plus side for Edinburgh, they could be boosted by the return of Argentinean international Emiliano Boffelli for Friday night’s 1872 Cup clash against Glasgow Warriors.
“He [Boffelli] has a chance for Friday and it is great to see him back training,” said Edinburgh ‘senior’ coach Sean Everitt. “He had a full week of training last week and his return comes at the right time with the concussion or Harry Paterson so he will be up for selection in the match 23 this weekend.
“He is a great guy and is very popular in the group, very knowledgeable and experienced. He played in the World Cup semi final not that long ago so we are very fortunate to have the services of a quality player like that. He also brings a wealth of experience to the team and a calmness and composure in the back field. With the absence of Blair [Kinghorn], Boff is the guy we will look to do the job for us.”
Everitt also confirmed that Ben Healy will continue as No 1 goal kicker after Boffelli’s return.
“Javan has a knee injury and will be out for six to eight weeks,” added Everitt. “WP is up for selection [this week]. We kept him back last week and the URC is an important competition and we are playing our rivals.
“Our injury list is better than it was in November and selection is tougher and that is what you want as a coach. Sam Skinner is a great player , an international, so we have missed him but the guy who replaced him Jamie Hodgson, who unfortunately got injured [out until mid January with an ankle issue] and Marshall Sykes, got their opportunity. Sam should be up for selection for the derby next week depending how he comes through on Thursday.