Edinburgh Rugby 'fun police' looking for Darcy Graham to perform in both defence and attack

Edinburgh defence coach Calum MacRae is looking forward to seeing Darcy Graham back in action after backing the Scottish international to make a big contribution at both ends of the field.

Saturday, 18th September 2021, 7:00 am
Darcy Graham returns to the Edinburgh Rugby line-up to face Benetton this afternoon. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

The inclusion of Graham is one of six changes to Mike Blair's starting XV for this afternoon's visit of Benetton in the final warm-up match ahead of the new United Rugby Championship, which starts on Friday.

Graham returns to the wing to make his first Edinburgh appearance since April, and MacRae, who described himself as the “fun police”, expects the 24-year-old to have a big impact not just in attack, but also defence.

"He's one of those edge of the seat players you want to come out and watch," he said. "As a defence coach you're sometimes perceived as the fun police a wee bit in that respect, but Darcy's an outstanding attacker and that's something that everyone enjoys watching.

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"It's in his DNA as a player but I think he's been working hard on his defensive positional play so that he gives himself the opportunities to make some strong plays defensively for the team and no-one hits bigger in our squad pound for pound than him so I'm really looking forward to seeing him play."

Graham's fellow internationalists Blair Kinghorn, Stuart McInally, Grant Gilchrist and Jamie Ritchie all return after missing out on last weekend’s Newcastle Falcons match.

MacRae is looking for Edinburgh to build on the positive signs displayed in the 26-10 defeat to Falcons in the new home stadium opener.

"As a first outing I was really pleased with the level of physicality we put out there," he said.

"There's obviously things we can work on but as a first hit out, I thought some of the strategies around the system we were looking to focus on through the pre-season, we saw a lot of those - looking to shut the opposition down, defensively, but also on attack you would have seen there was a lot of ball shifting and offloading.

"We really want to try and up the tempo of the attack and I thought there were some really good opportunities created off that, albeit some of them weren't taken, but it's pre-season. At least we want to push ourselves to try and get the best out of those situations."

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