Stuart McInally replacement explained as Edinburgh Rugby coach Mike Blair hails newcomers to team

Mike Blair has moved to allay fears over Stuart McInally after the Scotland hooker was taken off six minutes after coming on in Edinburgh’s 66-3 victory over Brive in the Challenge Cup.

Edinburgh hooker Stuart McInally.
Edinburgh hooker Stuart McInally.

McInally replaced Dave Cherry at half time at the DAM Health Stadium, but the latter returned to the field when the Edinburgh co-captain had to go off for a head injury assessment.

McInally was named this week in the Scotland squad for the Six Nations, with the Championship due to kick off in a fortnight with a home game against England.

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Blair doesn’t foresee any issues with the hooker who missed last year’s Six Nations with a neck injury.

Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair.

“He took a bang when he went for a jackal. He’s okay,” said the Edinburgh coach. “We didn’t want to risk him. He’s got a big couple of months coming up.”

Blair was delighted with Edinburgh’s thumping ten-try victory and in particular the way they mastered the blustery conditions. Freddie Owsley, the player of the match, and Glen Young each scored two tries on their first starts for the club as a number of fringe players made their mark.

“There was some really good stuff,” said Blair. “Some of the transition with broken-field stuff was really good.

“Out in the middle of the pitch, the wind was something else so we struggled a little bit with the lineout, so we had to find different kinds of ways to launch attacks.

Ben Muncaster scores a try for Edinburgh against Brive.

“It was important for us to give guys game time. Freddie has worked really hard on his game, especially in the last three or four weeks, so I wanted to reward that and his [first] try was absolutely brilliant.

“It was great to see him getting a bit of space, but other guys as well like Angus Williams getting a start, and Harrison Courtney and Ben Muncaster brought energy off the bench.

“So, it was good to get a win with a scoreline like that, but also to give these guys game-time as well.”

The match was watched by a record crowd inside the DAM Health Stadium, with 6,165 seeing Edinburgh maintain their unbeaten record in competitive matches at their new home.

The win leaves the capital side on the cusp of qualifying for the last 16 of the Challenge Cup but they will have to wait until April to wrap up their Pool C campaign with a home game against Pau.

Edinburgh now sit second in Pool C, a point behind leaders London Irish. The top three in the five-team group qualify automatically for the last 16.

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Edinburgh rack up ten tries in dismantling of Brive as debutant Freddie Owsley s...

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