URC: Edinburgh v Zebre: Sean Everitt says back-three crisis will ease in coming weeks

Head coach says Emiliano Boffelli and Harry Paterson can be back to face Munster next weekend

Harry Paterson misses out on Edinburgh's clash against Zebra this week with a quad injury. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Harry Paterson misses out on Edinburgh's clash against Zebra this week with a quad injury. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

THERE’S a slightly comical irony about the fact Edinburgh have had to name three centres in their starting XV (James Lang and Mark Bennett wearing Nos 12 and 13, as well as Matt Currie pressed into action on the wing) plus another covering the outside backs from the bench (Chris Dean) against Zebre at Hive Stadium tomorrow night, in the same week as Sean Everitt told us that he signed Mosese Tuipulotu after identifying the need for another midfielder as a priority in his recruitment drive for next season.

In fairness to the Edinburgh head coach, he is dealing with an unusually extensive injury-list in the back three at the moment, with five senior squad members currently sidelined – Darcy Graham, Emiliano Boffelli, Harry Paterson, Jake Henry and Nathan Sweeney – and he’ll hope that this won’t happen again next season. But he’ll also be aware that Graham, van der Merwe, Paterson and Bofffelli could easily miss significant chunks of next season on international duty, while Henry and Sweeney (and Paterson for that matter) are largely untested at this level.

The unanticipated glaring gap in Edinburgh’s back three created by Blair Kinghorn‘s mid-season move to Toulouse has never been compensated for, but perhaps having international alternatives at centre for Sione Tuipulotu, Huw Jones, Cam Redpath, Stafford McDowall, Rory Hutchinson, Chris Harris, the as yet uncapped but deserving Currie, the always reliable Bennett, Dean and Lang should take precedence?


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Certainly, this summer’s tour of North and South America could be a pinch point with some senior players needing a rest after a long World Cup season, but would it really be a travesty if, for example, Dean with 150 pro appearances over the last nine years got his Scotland cap ahead of a guy who has a grand total of five pro games (two starts) for the New South Wales Waratahs in Super Rugby.

Surely a Scottish cap still takes some earning?

As for Edinburgh’s more immediate challenge of getting through the three remaining games of this URC regular season with hopefully enough points to make the play-offs, Everitt is optimistic about his team’s prospects being posted by the return of Boffelli and Paterson as early as the capital side’s home game against Munster next Friday (17th May).

On Boffelli, Everitt said: “Unfortunately, he’s gone a little bit backwards this week with regards to that [back injury which had let him out from the start of March until a fortnight ago]. He played in the Cardiff game and did really well, then he came off that game a few days later and the back started playing up again.

“So, I think it’s important for us to rest him this week so that he can make a full recovery to be ready for selection next week.

“The risk in him playing this week would be that he might not be able to take the field against Munster – and for that matter against Benetton [in the final game of the regular season a fortnight later]. So we’ll give him as much time as we can to get him back to full recovery, especially with the schedule that we have.”

 

 

On Paterson, he said:  “The young man has had incredibly bad luck over this season, and maybe over the last two years, in fact.

“He did enough in the opportunities he had in September to work his way into the Six Nations group and make his debut, but then picked up a stress fracture [on his foot] training with Scotland, then had just got over that when he picked up a small niggle on Monday which was his comeback week.

“He would have been in the mix this week for selection and once again it is precautionary, especially with what lies ahead and where we are with our back-three.

“Being a short week, we didn’t want to wait to long, we needed to get on and prepare for the game on Friday night, so hopefully with the injury Harry has he will recover from it very quickly.”


URC: Edinburgh v Zebre: two home changes for crucial clash in play-off race

About David Barnes 3959 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.

4 Comments

  1. Unfortunately a silly home loss to Bennetton (3 points dropped) and 6 games with three tries (1 short of bonus points) have cost the team badly. So potentially another 3-9 points should’ve could’ve had

  2. Dean has started two games at center this season. both losses. He’s nowhere near the standards he set 6 yrs ago.
    Currie needs to add 5 kg.
    Lang is a nice player but not a physical presence.
    Bennett has been poor all season.

  3. Dean has started two games at center this season. both losses. He’s nowhere near the standards he set 6 yrs ago.
    Currie needs to add 5 kg.
    Lang is a nice player but not a physical presence.
    Bennett has been poor all season.

  4. The number of times you play is irrelevant, if you’re good enough then you play. Harry Patterson had a handful of pro appearances and performed admirably when he played for Scotland. Getting a Scottish cap is not a long service medal. Pick the best.

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