URC: Benetton v Edinburgh: capital side suffer another back-three set-back

Wes Goosen suffered a bone fracture in his foot two weekends’ ago. Image: © Craig Watson

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IT doesn’t rain but pours. Edinburgh’s back-three problems have deepened with confirmation that in-form Wes Goosen has joined the long list of wingers and full-backs currently unavailable to head coach Sean Everitt.

The South African started his first season with the capital club spoiled for choice as far as selection for the Nos 11, 14 and 15 jerseys was concerned, but has since lost Blair Kinghorn to a mid-season move to Toulouse, Darcy Graham to a season-ending groin injury, Emiliano Boffelli to a season-ending back injury, Nathan Sweeney to a very similar injury to Graham’s, and Harry Paterson – who made a big impression on his Scotland debut during the last Six Nations as a late call-up to the team which took on France  – to a stubborn quad issue which still hasn’t cleared.

Now, with Goosen – who was voted the Breadalbane Finance Player’s Player of the Season at Edinburgh’s Awards Dinner on Saturday night – the most recent unwilling recruit to the regiment of walking wounded, Everitt is going to have to mix and make-do for Saturday’s crucial URC regular season denouement away to Benetton Treviso.


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On the plus side, youngster Jake Henry has recovered from a hamstring injury and been passed fit to be in the selection mix this coming weekend, while Duhan van der Merwe has managed to stay injury-free.

“Wes has got a foot fracture – its one of the small bones in his foot  so unfortunately he’s not available this week, and not available next week either. We’ll see how it heals,” explained Everitt, in an update on the injury the New Zealander suffered during Edinburgh’s narrow defeat to Munster two weekend’s ago.

Harry Paterson is not available this weekend. He’s not made a full recovery yet, but we are hoping that he’ll be available for the quarter-finals,” he added.

“So, once again, in the back-three we are a bit short, but we have guys who can come in to play there. We’ve got options at full-back. Mark Bennett has played there before, Cammy Scott as well, and James Lang – so we’ll see how they all go in training this week and make a late call on Thursday.

“We’ll make a plan. We’re not looking for excuses. As I’ve aid, we’ve got members of the squad who can fill those positions so we are not panicking.”

 

 

Everitt’s side currently occupy the seventh spot in the URC table and need to finish in the top eight to make the play-offs. With eighth-placed Benetton (Satursday’s opponents) and ninth-placed Lions 1on the same number of league points, plus 10th placed Connacht and 11th placed Ospreys both just four points behind, a win for Edinburgh at Stadio Monigo is required in order to keep their season alive.

Meanwhile, Sharks winning he EPCR Challenge Cup on Friday night means that they have taken one of the eight places available to URC teams in the EPCR Champions Cup next season, so now only seven places are decided by league ranking meaning there is even less margin for error for Edinburgh on that front.

“Benetton is a difficult place to go and play rugby, with passionate supporters and a team who bring a lot of passion and emotion on the day, so we have to overcome that,” said Everitt, who was determined to focus on the task in hand. “It would be great for us to get a win there from a psychological point of view as well having not won there since 2017.


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