The news comes as the club awaits results from scans on hookers Stuart McInally and Dave Cherry who were both injured in Saturday night’s defeat by Ulster and are rated doubtful for this weekend’s European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Wasps.
There is also concern around James Lang, who picked up a knee knock in the Ulster game and Edinburgh will be forced to dig deep into their squad as the season approaches its climax.
Blair reckons he’s missing a full XV of players. Jamie Ritchie, Luan de Bruin, Boan Venter, Viliame Mata and Ben Toolis have been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign, while Darcy Graham, Nick Haining, Angus Williams and Glen Young all missed the Ulster game. In addition, Marshall Sykes is still suspended following his red card against Zebre Parma.
The one ray of light is that Graham is close to returning from a quad injury.
“Darcy’s touch and go at the moment,” said Blair. “We’re just waiting to see how he gets through a bit of training but he’s not far off.
“Ramiro and Henry, we’re unlikely to see them again this season.”
Moyano sustained a bicep injury in the win over Zebre, and Immelman suffered knee damage in the Challenge Cup match against Bath.
Blair’s most immediate concern is around the hooker position as he faces up to the likely loss of Scotland internationals McInally, who has hurt his calf, and Cherry, who injured his arm.
“They are going to have some scans,” said the coach. “They’ll probably struggle a bit for this weekend, but we don’t have those results back.
“I think Stuart McInally is very unlikely. Dave Cherry, you never know until you’ve had that scan how much of it is bruising and how much of it is something more permanent, so we’ll just have to wait and see with him.”
In their likely absence, Adam McBurney will step up, with teenager Patrick Harrison also providing cover. Harrison became the youngest hooker in the club’s history when he made his debut against Dragons last year at the age of 18. Now 19, he has been playing for Watsonians in the Super6 Sprint in recent weeks.
McBurney, who joined Edinburgh in the close season from Ulster, has had limited opportunities and Blair expects him to relish the chance should it come his way against Wasps.
“Adam’s been absolutely brilliant for us, on field and off field,” said Blair. “He really drives standard and he’s incredibly competitive. He’ll be teed off when you don’t select him then half an hour later he’ll be doing everything he can to help prepare the team and make them better.
“He’s a really good man and we have proper conversations about involving him in the 23 already so it’s really great that he should be able to pick up an opportunity this week.”
It’s a challenging time for Edinburgh as they chase honours on two fronts. Although they went down 16-10 to Ulster they picked up a losing bonus point which secured their place in the URC play-offs, meaning they are through to the last eight of both competitions they entered this season.
While disappointed to lose so many players, Blair knows it also gives opportunities to others.
“I’m looking at the group of unavailable players we’ve got now and I’m thinking, ‘jeez, is this unprecedented? What other teams are dealing with this?’” he said.
“It is frustrating to have so many guys out – we’ve probably got an international XV unavailable to us but it’s not something we can do too much about and as I’ve said previously it’s given guys opportunities to step up.
“Ben Muncaster off the bench, I thought he was fantastic again. Connor Boyle has been excellent. So it does give players opportunities. Gus Williams has been in with us, Harrison Courtney has been in with us, both Super6 players, so it has opened the door for guys to get game-time and show what they can do and, longer term, that’s going to be a good situation for us.”