Press Pass: Everitt on Ulster
Get the latest from Senior Coach Sean Everitt ahead of Saturday’s BKT United Rugby Championship clash against Ulster at Kingspan Stadium (2 December, kick-off 5.15pm) – live on Viaplay.
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On Blair Kinghorn’s last game for the club
“Blair was really good on Friday night. If luck had gone our way a little bit on a forward pass, Blair might have got three tries in the first 25 minutes.
“So he’s really important to this group. We respect him for his ability as a rugby player, we respect him for his commitment to the club.
“Most importantly, in the world of professional sport players come and go. There’s no reason why we can’t play him to his last game.”
On Blair’s focus heading into Ulster
“A lot was going on last week in his life as well – probably the biggest week of his rugby career.
“And he performed admirably in those circumstances, so I don’t see anything different. I’m sure if he’d felt pressure he would have come and had a chat with me and we’d have come to some sort of agreement that he maybe should or shouldn’t play.
“I leave that up to the player. I believe he’s honest and he’s committed to Edinburgh and I don’t see why it should be any different this week.”
On Darcy Graham’s return to fitness
“Darcy has been up and down. When the announcement came that he’d injured his knee, he actually had an injured hip at the time – it was just that his knee was maybe a little bit worse than his hip.
“So it has been backwards and forwards, and he’s been running and had a few setbacks with his return to play. But I’m really hopeful that he’ll be able to be back on the field against Castres.
“Just for next week if we feel that he’s not 100 per cent, we’re not going to risk him. For Darcy to come back he must be 100 per cent fit, ready, well prepared, because we’ve got two important games – first the European game as well – then obviously we’ve got to get through January and get him to full fitness for the Six Nations too.”
On Emiliano Boffelli
“Boffelli is also expected to be back for the Castres clash.”
On Patterson and Sweeney returning
“Nathan Sweeney returned to the training field this week, which is great for us with Blair’s departure.
“Harry Paterson played for the ‘A’ team against Glasgow last Friday and he was outstanding. He’s put his hand up for selection there, and I’m proud of him, because he’s also gone through a bit of adversity – he missed quite a lot of the pre-season due to injury.
“He wasn’t quite fit for the first round when we played against Dragons, and we had to play Cammy Scott at full-back.
“And then the question is well, when does he get an opportunity when Blair’s back playing well?
“Those opportunities will come for them now over the next couple of weeks. The performance that they put in against Glasgow was really good, so hopefully they’ll be rewarded in selection.”
On Hamish Watson and Viliame Mata
“Yes, they are available for selection. It’s a nice headache to have with Hamish coming back.
“Connor Boyle has done really well for us. There could be a rotation in that position – Connor has done a job for us six weeks in a row and he probably deserves a break, which gives us an opportunity to give Hamish a run.
“I’ve always said that in the last three games in December I’d like to have the squad at full strength, and we’re certainly working towards that target.”
On further rotation
“Grant Gilchrist will be resting this week, and Jamie Hodgson and Marshall Sykes will come into the reckoning for selection.
“Glen Young doesn’t need to be rested, but he’s also carried quite a big load for six weeks now. But we’re not in a position to rest all of them.”
On returning to winning ways
“It’s important that we get back on the horse and focus on the next game. That was extremely disappointing but you can’t fault the performance in a way, it was three soft tries and two of them they scored 90 metre tries when we were on attack and looking to score ourselves.
“I suppose it does take a little bit of luck – the bounce of the ball – but we can’t put it down to that. I’ve spoken before about the turnovers we conceded in previous years, and although our numbers weren’t as high last weekend – turnovers down from 19 down to 13 – but we still need to look after the ball.
“When you’ve got a line-out five metres from the opposition line to win the game with five minutes to go, we should expect to win that, but we didn’t and then there were processes after that we should have followed to prevent them from scoring which we didn’t follow.
“So, there are learnings we took out of that – the drop-goal opportunity as well, we maybe went a little bit early, so we looked at that with strategy group. The call to maul was right and we could have been rewarded in a way in that passage of but we maybe didn’t stick to the plan to run out the clock and went too early.
“We need to take those learning into the game against Ulster because we need to be accurate for 80 minutes, especially away from home, against a team that is going to be hungry after their loss to Glasgow last week.”