Kinghorn not an option as stand-off cover for Edinburgh

Edinburgh won’t look to the talents of Scotland back Blair Kinghorn to fill the gap in their squad at stand-off, according to Head Coach Richard Cockerill. 

The Capital club have been left short-handed in the 10 jersey after Jono Lance’s signing fell through, the Australian unable to obtain a visa. 

That leaves Cockerill with only Jaco van der Walt and Scotland U20 playmaker Nathan Chamberlain to fill the 10 jersey, but Cockerill said on Friday that he’s prepared to give young Scottish players a chance, rather than move the more experienced Kinghorn into the position he started his career. 

“Blair is a world class fullback. Our counter-attacking game is very good and he’s a big part of that along with our back three and our back-rowers carrying the ball back. 

“He hasn’t played 10 for a long time and when he did, it was bit-part as a youngster. 

“It’s a tough position to play, all the kicking duties – kicking is going to be more and more important with the way the game is being refereed in the southern hemisphere, and the thinking time.”

Cockerill believes that keeping Kinghorn in the number 15 jersey is the best option for the time being. 

“I think for us the best thing to do is, whoever that other 10 is, Chamberlain, Cammy Scott, whoever it is, we develop them and bring them through. They will be SQ and that’s what everyone cries out for ‘let’s roll the dice and give the young lads a go’ well, we’re going to roll the dice and the young lads will get a go. Let’s hope it works.”

Duhan van der Merwe’s eligibility for Scotland now leaves Cockerill with another headache, as he’ll likely lose all of his first-choice back three to the national team squad.

The Edinburgh Head Coach said that his budget has been frozen for now as Scottish Rugby look to assess the financial impact of the Coroanvirus crisis, but added that the back three, stand-off and the back-row were areas he had been looking to strengthen prior to the pandemic. 

Edinburgh’s back-row options are already plentiful, with Scotland internationalists Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury and Nick Haining; Fiji star Bill Mata, and the impressive Luke Crosbie. 

“We were looking at the back three because we think we’re going to lose three guys to Scotland.

“We were trying to bolster the back-row as well because we’re going to lose so many players [to international duty], you’ve got to rotate and rest. 

“We’re going to lose the majority of our forward pack, and more, so we’re probably a couple of players lighter than our original budget allowed us.” 

Image caption: Blair Kinghorn won’t be an option for Edinburgh at stand-off next season, says Richard Cockerill. Image credit: Fotosport/David Gibson

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