Blair Kinghorn on growing into the 10 role, why he deleted Twitter and his backing for Hearts in cup final

Nothing in Scottish rugby has provoked as much debate this season as the decision to switch Blair Kinghorn to stand-off and the man at the centre of the experiment could be forgiven for becoming a little frazzled by the scrutiny.

Blair Kinghorn trains ahead of Edinburgh's inter-city clash with Glasgow Warriors. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
Blair Kinghorn trains ahead of Edinburgh's inter-city clash with Glasgow Warriors. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Remarkably, the 24-year-old Edinburgh man seems completely unfazed. While recognising he is still short of being the finished article, he has embraced his move from the back three and driven Edinburgh to some memorable victories, most notably at their new home.

Blessed with pace, power and an astute rugby brain, Kinghorn has the attributes to trouble opponents as a dangerous running 10. He feels he still needs to work on the tactical side but has enjoyed reverting to the position he played as a schoolboy.

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Not everyone is convinced and some social media troubadours haven’t been slow to criticise but Kinghorn has long since tuned out.

“Everyone’s an expert behind a keyboard!” he says. “I try not to pay too much attention to that. I deleted my Twitter account. People can think what they think but if I think I’m a good player and the lads do too, then that’s fine. I don’t listen to the other stuff.

“You definitely get more scrutiny when you’re in one of the game-driving positions. If we lose it’s the nine and 10’s fault. And if we win we’re brilliant.

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“You learn things as you go. I feel the rugby side of things is fine because I feel like I’m a talented football player and everyone in the team is helping out. It’s been more tactical things, knowing when to run, when to kick, what areas of the field to play in and just being really ruthless.

Blair Kinghorn, left, shows off his football skills. He played for Hearts as a youth. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

“You see a lot of world-class teams and they have a ruthless operator at 10 who leads the team around the park. It will take some time but I feel like I’m developing as I would like to.

“You’re controlling the game, me and the nine. If we do it with confidence then the lads around us will believe.

“Whenever there’s a down period, like when water comes on, I’m good at, not taking myself out of a game, but just relaxing a little. If you’re full on for 80 minutes it can be very tiring. I find that during the week as well with all the extra analysis. So when there’s down time you have to be able to take it and rest your mind.”

Kinghorn will look to pilot Edinburgh to victory over Glasgow on Saturday evening when the rivals meet at Murrayfield. The game will determine who each team faces in the URC play-offs and who will represents Scotland in next season’s Champions Cup. The 1872 Cup is up for grabs too, with Edinburgh looking to overturn Glasgow’s 30-17 first-leg lead.

The switch to stand-off has worked out well for Blair Kinghorn and Edinburgh. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

“There’s a lot to play for,” noted Kinghorn who admitted he will have one eye on events at Hampden earlier in the day where he is hoping Hearts get the better of Rangers in the Scottish Cup final.

“I’m a Jambo so 100 per cent,” he smiled. “I was with Hearts in their under-13 and 14s but I’ve been a Jambo my whole life. Can you imagine having the cup final on in our changing room before the game? That would be funny.”

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