URC: Benetton v Edinburgh: capital side suffer another back-three set-back

Wes Goosen joins list of missing men for campaign denouement

Wes Goosen suffered a bone fracture in his foot two weekends' ago. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Wes Goosen suffered a bone fracture in his foot two weekends' ago. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

IT doesn’t rain but pours. Edinburgh’s back-three problems have deepened with confirmation that in-form Wes Goosen has joined the long list of wingers and full-backs currently unavailable to head coach Sean Everitt.

The South African started his first season with the capital club spoiled for choice as far as selection for the Nos 11, 14 and 15 jerseys was concerned, but has since lost Blair Kinghorn to a mid-season move to Toulouse, Darcy Graham to a season-ending groin injury, Emiliano Boffelli to a season-ending back injury, Nathan Sweeney to a very similar injury to Graham’s, and Harry Paterson – who made a big impression on his Scotland debut during the last Six Nations as a late call-up to the team which took on France  – to a stubborn quad issue which still hasn’t cleared.

Now, with Goosen – who was voted the Breadalbane Finance Player’s Player of the Season at Edinburgh’s Awards Dinner on Saturday night – the most recent unwilling recruit to the regiment of walking wounded, Everitt is going to have to mix and make-do for Saturday’s crucial URC regular season denouement away to Benetton Treviso.


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On the plus side, youngster Jake Henry has recovered from a hamstring injury and been passed fit to be in the selection mix this coming weekend, while Duhan van der Merwe has managed to stay injury-free.

“Wes has got a foot fracture – its one of the small bones in his foot  so unfortunately he’s not available this week, and not available next week either. We’ll see how it heals,” explained Everitt, in an update on the injury the New Zealander suffered during Edinburgh’s narrow defeat to Munster two weekend’s ago.

Harry Paterson is not available this weekend. He’s not made a full recovery yet, but we are hoping that he’ll be available for the quarter-finals,” he added.

“So, once again, in the back-three we are a bit short, but we have guys who can come in to play there. We’ve got options at full-back. Mark Bennett has played there before, Cammy Scott as well, and James Lang – so we’ll see how they all go in training this week and make a late call on Thursday.

“We’ll make a plan. We’re not looking for excuses. As I’ve aid, we’ve got members of the squad who can fill those positions so we are not panicking.”

 

 

Everitt’s side currently occupy the seventh spot in the URC table and need to finish in the top eight to make the play-offs. With eighth-placed Benetton (Satursday’s opponents) and ninth-placed Lions 1on the same number of league points, plus 10th placed Connacht and 11th placed Ospreys both just four points behind, a win for Edinburgh at Stadio Monigo is required in order to keep their season alive.

Meanwhile, Sharks winning he EPCR Challenge Cup on Friday night means that they have taken one of the eight places available to URC teams in the EPCR Champions Cup next season, so now only seven places are decided by league ranking meaning there is even less margin for error for Edinburgh on that front.

“Benetton is a difficult place to go and play rugby, with passionate supporters and a team who bring a lot of passion and emotion on the day, so we have to overcome that,” said Everitt, who was determined to focus on the task in hand. “It would be great for us to get a win there from a psychological point of view as well having not won there since 2017.


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About David Barnes 3989 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.

12 Comments

  1. It’s easy (and correct) to point to the lack of bonus points, but the biggest momentum killer this season was the home defeat to Benetton in November.

    Five points ahead with 10 minutes left, kickable penalty turned down to go to the corner instead… two minutes later they are somehow under their own posts. Dumb decisions, poor discipline. If they’d handled those few moments better then the play-offs would be secured already!

  2. Edinburgh rugby is awful to watch and has turned off fans this season who are so sick of bludgeoning carries followed by kick and chase. The rugby on show from Edinburgh has been awful and a lot of fellow fans think the same.

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  3. It’s surprised me that they didn’t recall Jack Blain who has been playing very well with Super 6 Heriots and obviously knows the Edinburgh set up. He is a winger, is scoring tries and has played for Edinburgh. There is also the Academy full back Brown, maybe he will get a chance. We need to give these players experience and game time to develop.

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  4. We are severely stretched here but as we’ve been playing with centres on the wing recently then having one at fullback is not the end of the world with Laing and Bennet having played here before (cant remember when?). This is a game where you give up on any fluency in the backs which we haven’t achieved with a full set anyway (that can wait for later). This is a game where any sort of win will do however ugly it is. its a pure knockout game at least for the Champions Cup spot for 7th. Strictly we dont need to win as a losing bonus point could do us because you cant see Lions or Connacht winning and Ospreys are the most likely winners and could get to 50 points. If all 3 of them lose and Lions get no bonus point then both us and Bennetton will qualify.

    It will be a tough ask as Bennetton are a tough well balanced side but its a real cup final and should a nail biter.

  5. Inredible run of (bad) luck to lose so many top class back three’s for such long periods.
    Bofelli,Graham,Goosen,Paterson (also Sweeney) plus Kinghorn leaving mid-season.
    Going to be a very patched up back division on Saturday but Scott looked very capable at fullback aginst Dragons in the first game of the season so no need to play Lang out of position? And with Jacob Henry fit at least two genuine wingers available.

  6. Re bonus points, yes, BUT this year we got the wins instead so we have advanced considerably since last season. At least we are in a position where one more win will do it, and let’s face it, these back three issues will have had a fair impact on our attacking success. Imagine if we’d have had Darcy all season!

    So hope we make it and continue to improve next season. Which will be tough as it looks like the SA sides are also improving and the Welsh will remember how to play at some point ?!!!

  7. Agree with RodB,
    This will be a very difficult game to win.
    It’s all very well,the head coach saying,”we’re not panicking” but the loyal fans are!
    I’m aware that you cannot guarantee success when you support a team,but it would be good to have both Scottish teams in the Champions Cup.
    The SRU were quick to ask for our money, before the end of the season….and they hiked the prices up as well.

  8. sadly 3 or 4 of those missed bonus points would have made all the difference. Whatever happens we need an attacking rethink. The pack are great the backs are going nowhere yet under Blair they could score from anywhere and yes let in tries from everywhere. I hope we win on Saturday but most of all I hope we learn the lessons and create an inventive attacking gameplan for next season. Compared to Glasgow its pretty dull stuff. We need a really good attack coach, a rethink at centre and please please fewer box kicks.

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    • Afraid I don’t think the pack is as good as their individual reputations. What is Edinburgh’s average ruck speed compared to top sides? That is what determines how well an attack functions as well and at least as much as the backs.

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