Rugby

Scotland hoping Darcy Graham will return after Six Nations showdown with England

Graham missed the opening two matches of the championship against Wales and France with a quad problem.

Darcy Graham will miss Scotland’s clash with England on Saturday
Darcy Graham during Scotland training Darcy Graham will miss Scotland’s clash with England on Saturday (David Davies/PA)

Scotland are hopeful that talismanic wing Darcy Graham will be fit enough to play a part in the Guinness Six Nations even though he will stay on the sidelines for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup showdown with England.

The 26-year-old – who is second on the national team’s all-time try-scoring list – missed the opening two matches of the championship against Wales and France with a quad problem.

Graham was scheduled to return to the fold for this weekend’s Murrayfield clash with England, but it emerged on Monday that he had suffered a new groin issue while training with Edinburgh last week, which has ruled him out of contention.

The free-scoring back – who missed the entirety of last year’s Six Nations with a knee injury – is due to be assessed this week and Scotland are hoping he will be able to return for the championship-concluding fixtures away to Italy and Ireland next month.

“Darcy had started back with Edinburgh and we were very happy about that,” said scrum coach Pieter De Villiers at a media briefing on Tuesday.

“But he’s picked up a bit of a groin niggle at the moment so he’s just nursing that. We’ll see how that goes.”

Asked if Graham was expected back before the end of the tournament, De Villiers said: “We’ve got another fallow week (after England) so that will hopefully give him enough time and then we’ll just assess things from there.”

Blair Kinghorn is set to return after missing the last two games
Blair Kinghorn Blair Kinghorn is set to return after missing the last two games (Adam Davy/PA)

Despite Graham’s ongoing absence, Scotland will welcome back two senior members of their back three this weekend, with Glasgow wing Kyle Steyn returning after missing the France game for the birth of his child and Toulouse full-back Blair Kinghorn available after sitting out the first two games with a knee injury.

“Blair has been training really well and we’re excited to see him back in the squad again,” reported De Villiers.

Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash will be Scotland’s first outing since their agonising defeat at home to France, when the officials controversially decided not to award them what would have been a match-winning try after Sam Skinner appeared to ground the ball on the whitewash in the last action of a tightly-contested affair.

De Villiers admitted that having last weekend off was beneficial in helping the Scots banish any lingering frustration at having their hopes of a Grand Slam dashed in such galling fashion.

“Yes, it almost feels long ago,” he said of the extra time out of camp to regroup. “A bit of time off was good for the team.

“There’s obviously been frustration and disappointment. I thought we’d done enough to win that game but that’s the way rugby goes. Sometimes things don’t go your way.

“It’s the best thing for us to move on and prepare for England which is a fantastic game to look forward to. It’s all behind us.”

De Villiers has no concerns about any hangover from the France game plaguing Scotland this weekend as he feels recovering from such setbacks is “part of what we do”.

Scotland suffered late despair against France
Scotland v France Scotland suffered late despair against France (Jane Barlow/PA)

“It’s important to be able to move on,” he said. “It’s important to be able to be frustrated as well.

“As much as there were things we could have done better, it’s good to know that we did enough (to potentially win the game) as well.

“That’s important for our psyche and for moving on. It’s not the first decision to go against us and it won’t be the last decision to go against us.”