Edinburgh coach Mike Blair delivers injury update on key men ahead of 1872 Cup double-header against Glasgow

Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair is keeping his fingers crossed that two key men can recover from injury knocks in time for the first leg of the 1872 Cup double-header against Glasgow Warriors.

Winger Duhan van der Merwe missed Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup match victory over Castres and stand-off Blair Kinghorn lasted just 13 minutes, but Blair is hopeful both will make it for Friday’s match at Scotstoun.

Van der Merwe was a late call-off ahead of the Castres match, with Damien Hoyland deputising as Edinburgh won 31-20 at the DAM Health Stadium. The Scotland winger has been struggling with an ankle injury but the club are confident he will be fit to face Glasgow.

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“He’s been touch and go all week,” said Mike Blair, the Edinburgh coach. “He trained with us on Friday but he didn’t seem confident with it so we just made that decision. Damien played really well off the bench last week and we just felt it was a great opportunity for him to back that up.”

Edinburgh's Blair Kinghorn had to go off after 13 minutes due to a back spasm. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

Stand-off Kinghorn lasted 13 minutes before being replaced by Charlie Savala. “Blair was a back spasm,” said the coach. “I’d hope he’ll be alright for next week, but back spasms can be complicated because it depends on the impact it has on your hamstrings and so on.”

Edinburgh also lost Stuart McInally in the opening minutes as the hooker failed a head injury assessment. “We’ll just wait and see with him,” added Blair. In what was a physically challenging afternoon, Edinburgh were also left with concerns over Luke Crosbie, the player of the match. “He took a little bash to his neck and his back but he doesn't complain about things too often,” said Blair.

Given the extent of the injury disruption the coach was understandably pleased with the bonus-point win over last season’s Top 14 runners-up. The result leaves Edinburgh on six points from two matches in Pool A at the halfway point of the group stage. Seven points from four games proved enough to qualify for the last 16 last season but Blair is not looking too far ahead.

“We just have to win games,” he said. “Seven points got you into the knock-out stage last time, but it depends on which league you are in, and whether some teams drop off if they think they are not going to qualify after the first couple of games.” Edinburgh’s final two pool games are against Castres away on January 15 and Bath at home a week later.

Luke Crosbie, left, was a worthy winner of the player of the match award. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)