Edinburgh play waiting game on release of Scotland players for Munster but Darcy Graham is a long shot

Mike Blair is hopeful of having a few players released back from the Scotland squad for Edinburgh’s game against Munster on Friday but is realistic to know that Darcy Graham is unlikely to be one of them.

The winger has been outstanding in the opening two rounds of the Six Nations and although there are no international fixtures this weekend, it is expected that Graham will be wrapped in metaphorical cotton wool for the match against France on February 26.

The Hawick flyer’s superb try was not enough to prevent Scotland going down 20-17 to Wales on Saturday but his continued good form is a source of optimism for Gregor Townsend’s side.

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Graham was released by Townsend to play in Edinburgh’s match against Ospreys before the Six Nations but Blair doesn’t expect to have him for Limerick.

“We were really fortunate to get Darcy back for the Ospreys game,” said the Edinburgh coach. “He hadn’t played a huge amount in the two months before the Six Nations – that’s why we had him back. But he’s in full flow now and playing really well – he took his try really well and looked dangerous whenever he got the ball. It does not look like we’re going to get him back this week.”

Blair must wait and see who from Scotland becomes available for the Munster game. Key Edinburgh players such as Mark Bennett, Ben Vellacott, Nick Haining and Jamie Hodgson are all in the Six Nations squad but have not been involved in either match and there is a strong case for some, if not all, of them being released to play for their club, if fit.

Blair Kinghorn is another who could come into contention. The utility back remained on the bench against England and played the final nine minutes against Wales.

“We’re hopeful of getting a handful of players back,” added Blair. “It’s really case by case – who Gregor believes needs some game time, who they probably couldn’t do without if they got injured. It’s not necessarily how many minutes they’ve played, but what’s required by Gregor. We’ll be pretty pleased to get a few players back, so fingers crossed.”

Darcy Graham, who scored Scotland's try against Wales, is unlikely to be available for Edinburgh's game against Munster. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Back-to-back away defeats by Ospreys and Leinster have seen Edinburgh knocked off top spot in the United Rugby Championship.

The capital side now sit fourth but only four points behind leaders Ulster. The top eight qualify for the play-offs and Edinburgh remain well placed, albeit with a tough run coming up against Munster (away), Connacht (home) and Glasgow Warriors (away). They then head to South Africa to play the Sharks and the Lions.

“This is going to be a really crucial period for us,” said Blair. “I mentioned having a lot of home games at the start. Now, with the rearranged fixtures, we have a lot of away games together.

Blair Kinghorn played the final nine minutes of the Six Nations match in Cardiff. Picture: David Davies/PA

“It’s going to be a tough period with a few of our players away and us having away games against strong teams but this is brilliant for young players coming through. They can show what they can do and will be able to see what it takes to win at this level. This is excellent for their development while at the same time we are able to put a team out that can win these games.”

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