Darcy Graham in Six Nations injury sweat as winger ruled out of Edinburgh's European games

Darcy Graham faces a race against time to be fit for the start of the Six Nations Championship after injuring his knee in Edinburgh’s defeat by Munster on Friday.

Edinburgh's Darcy Graham goes off injured against Munster.  (Photo by Simon Wootton / SNS Group)
Edinburgh's Darcy Graham goes off injured against Munster. (Photo by Simon Wootton / SNS Group)

The winger had to come off in the first half of the game at the DAM Health Stadium and Edinburgh will have a better idea on Wednesday how long the player will be out for.

Graham’s knee is still swollen after he sustained damage to the medial collateral ligament. He has been ruled out of his club’s opening two games in the Heineken Champions Cup, against Saracens on Sunday and Castres the following week, and is unlikely to play any part in the 1872 Cup derbies with Glasgow Warriors over the festive period. Beyond that, Mike Blair was reluctant to speculate on when he might return.

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“Darcy is going to be a few weeks,” said the Edinburgh coach. “Not completely sure how long he will be out but it will be longer than shorter. It is around his MCL. We will have to wait and see. It did not look great at the time.

“People recover differently from these kinds of things. We just need to access it once the swelling has gone down and we get the results of the scan.”

Graham has been in outstanding form for club and country this season and is out in front as the leading try-scorer in the United Rugby Championship with nine, three clear of Leinster pair Dan Sheehan and Rob Russell. He also scored four tries for Scotland during the Autumn Nations Series, one against New Zealand and a hat-trick against Argentina, drawing praise from national coach Gregor Townsend who made reference to his robustness as well as his ability to beat defenders. Unfortunately, the Hawick man failed to recover from a tackle against Munster and the hope will be that he can recover in time for the Six Nations opener against England at Twickenham on February 4.

“He fell awkwardly around the 10-metre line,” added Blair. “Nothing malicious or anything like that. Just an unfortunate one.

“He has had a real bounce in his step. He started that way with us and continued that with Scotland and he scored again on Friday night but you try to find silver linings to stuff like that. We are fortunate we have a number of back three players that will come in and make an impact.”

Blair is confident Emiliano Boffelli will be fit to return against Saracens on Sunday after missing Edinburgh’s games against Benetton and Munster following his exertions with Argentina during the autumn Tests. Boffelli could return at full-back, with Wes Goosen switching to the wing in place of Graham for the match at the StoneX Stadium.

Edinburgh beat Saracens away this time last year in the European Challenge Cup. Now both sides are back amongst the elite in the Champions Cup. For Blair, it is reward for the performances of last season in which Edinburgh finished top of the pile in the Scottish-Italian Shield, but the coach knows Sunday represents a huge test against the English Premiership league leaders who have won nine from nine this season.

“This is us eating at the top table again and we know they will bring a huge presence with them and a lot of confidence but we also know the team we will put on the pitch can be a match for them,” said Blair.

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“It is great we go from that Munster game straight into a big game because there are areas that challenged them on Friday that Saracens will also bring at us, in terms of physicality, playing on top of us. We have to find a way of wresting the momentum away from them and improve our own game. But it’s great to be playing Heineken Cup rugby and this is a real challenge for us.”

Henry Immelman should also be fit to return this week, offering Edinburgh another back-three option. But it is too early to know whether Chris Dean will be available. The centre was outstanding in the first half against Munster but had to go off for a head injury assessment.

“He was excellent,” said Blair. “He took a bang to his head and is starting to go through the protocols. Fortunately it is a longer turnaround but we will just have to see where that one lands when it comes to making a decision [on his availability to play Saracens].”

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