Edinburgh’s options as back three injuries mount ahead of key clash 

Injuries to Wes Goosen, Emiliano Boffelli and the continued absence of Darcy Graham and Harry Paterson mean Edinburgh are facing a back-three dilemma ahead of Saturday’s vital URC trip to Benetton.  

The capital club go into the match knowing the winner will guarantee a play-off spot and Champions Cup rugby next season.  

But they’ll have to do it without their Players’ Player of the Season after Goosen was ruled out with a broken bone in his foot. The former Hurricanes man has been outstanding this term after an injury-hit debut season last year.  

Sean Everitt confirmed on Tuesday that he won’t be fit for the quarter-final, should Edinburgh make it.  

Harry Paterson remains sidelined with a quad problem, while it was confirmed previously Argentina international Boffelli would sit out the rest of the season.  

Throw in long-term injuries to Darcy Graham and Nathan Sweeney, plus Blair Kinghorn’s mid-season move to Toulouse, and Edinburgh find themselves short.

It’ll be a relief to Everitt that Duhan van der Merwe has avoided injury.  

Scotland Rugby News: Duhan van der Merwe has beaten more defenders than anyone else in the URC this season. His now injured team-mate Wes Goosen is second on that listDuhan van der Merwe has beaten more defenders than anyone else in the URC this season. His now injured team-mate Wes Goosen is second on that list (Image: SNS)

He will start on the left wing against Benetton, and Jake Henry has made a timely return from his own injury and may well be thrown straight in on the opposite flank.  

But it is at fullback where Everitt’s resources will be most tested.  

He said this week Edinburgh will look at one of Cammy Scott, usually a fly-half, or Scotland centre pairing James Lang and Mark Bennett to fill the gap vacated by Goosen.  

READ MORE: Goosen joins Edinburgh problems as back three crisis continues

We've assessed the options available to Everitt ahead of a crunch trip to Italy this weekend.

Cammy Scott 

Scotland Rugby News: Cammy Scott in action for Edinburgh against ConnachtCammy Scott in action for Edinburgh against Connacht (Image: SNS)

Season appearances: Seven 

Starts: Two 

Minutes: 211 

He might be the least experienced of the aforementioned trio, but Scott does at least have experience of playing at fullback for Edinburgh. He started the season opener against the Dragons at Rodney Parade with the number 15 jersey on his back. His opportunities have been limited this season behind Ben Healy, but he did get the last quarter (replacing Goosen) in the defeat to Munster. Edinburgh’s attacking game might benefit from getting another playmaker on the field to link with Healy.  

James Lang 

Scotland Rugby News: James Lang breaks through past Scarlets' Vaea Fifita James Lang breaks through past Scarlets' Vaea Fifita (Image: SNS)

Season appearances: 18 

Starts: 12 

Minutes: 1010 

The emergence of Matt Currie has threatened Lang’s place in the Edinburgh side in recent weeks, but he has still been an important cog in the midfield this campaign and has started each of the last four URC matches in the number 12 jersey.

He does have experience at fullback, albeit not for his current employers. Lang’s last start in the 15 jersey came little over six years ago, as Harlequins beat Bath in the Premiership (Edinburgh legend Tim Visser was Quins’ try-scorer).  

Mark Bennett 

Scotland Rugby News: Mark Bennett looks to evade Zebre’s Giovanni LicataMark Bennett looks to evade Zebre’s Giovanni Licata (Image: SNS)

Season appearances: 19 

Starts: 15 

Minutes: 1104 

Since making his Glasgow Warriors debut in 2011, Bennett has been almost exclusively found in the number 13 jersey. Whether with the Warriors, Scotland or in his 107 appearances for Edinburgh to date, we have been unable to find a record of the Olympic silver medalist having started a match at fullback. It would be a big ask to switch Bennett.  

Who else is available? 

Ross McCann, who started Edinburgh’s season opener against Dragons on the wing, ex-Edinburgh wing Jamie Farndale and former Boroughmuir man Jordan Edmunds are both with the Team GB squad preparing for the SVNS World Series event in Madrid.   

Scotland Rugby News: Ross McCann in pre-season action for EdinburghRoss McCann in pre-season action for Edinburgh (Image: SNS)

The club also have 18-year-old Jack Brown among their academy squad. The former Watsonians man, a Scotland age-grade international, has started all three of the Edinburgh ‘A’ matches in the Super Series, but hasn’t featured yet for the senior squad.  

The opposition

Whoever Everitt picks to step into Goosen's shoes will need to be assured under the high ball. Stats show Benetton have made more kicks (447) than almost any other team in the league, Cardiff being the exception.

The Italian side are also third for kick metres this season, so Edinburgh must ensure their makeshift back three is on song both with and without possession.