Scotland’s stand-off issues could be problematic for Edinburgh Rugby

Scotland's stand-off issues could be problematic for Edinburgh Rugby
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Edinburgh Rugby will be hit hardest after Scotland confirmed it will be without Finn Russell and Adam Hastings for their Autumn Nations Cup campaign.

Russell injured his groin and Hastings his shoulder, in the Guinness Six Nations win over Wales but Scotland has options, with Duncan Weir next in line.

While James Lang, the Harlequins back, and Edinburgh Rugby outside back Blair Kinghorn and Scottish captain Stuart Hogg all have experience at stand-off; be it limited to sporadic appearances at club level, finding a replacement has created representative issues. So head coach for Scotland Gregor Townsend will likely look outside of his current group for back-up to Duncan Weir for the remainder of the autumn internationals.

One choice is Peter Horne, who has taken the number 10 jersey for Glasgow Warriors, but he’s failed to convince on the occasions he’s been asked to fill in at stand-off for Scotland. The most recent, a 27-10 defeat to France in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations. Considering that, it could mean Edinburgh’s South African-born playmaker Jaco van der Walt; who qualifies for Scotland on residency later this month, is the likely back-up for Weir.

Jaco van der Walt of Edinburgh is tackled during the Guinness PRO14 match (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Scotland’s stand-off issues could be problematic for Edinburgh Rugby

The Edinburgh Rugby pivot has already trained with the national squad but recently returned to South Africa for his wedding on Friday. After his expected return, he’ll then have to complete a two-week quarantine. That may mean Hogg and/or Lang covering stand-off against Italy, but expect van der Walt to be thrust into the international arena as soon as he is available.

That is definitely problematic for his Guinness PRO14 club. With his unavailability – for one reason or another – it will give Edinburgh boss Richard Cockerill a problem, as he only has Scotland under-20 pivot Nathan Chamberlain and Cammy Scott (his back-up at age-grade level) at his disposal.

 

Chamberlain has played just eight minutes of rugby in 2020/21, while he started Edinburgh’s defeat to Glasgow Warriors when rugby resumed in August, and came off the bench in another. He was a stand-out performer for Scotland U20, scoring 32 points and a hat-trick of tries in their March win over Wales before the pandemic hit, but the ex-Bristol Bears man faces a tough test in the next few weeks.

To compound this situation, Edinburgh missed out on signing experienced Australian Jono Lance, with the ex-Worcester man having problems obtaining a visa, and Scottish Rugby’s freeze on recruitment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has left the Capital side heavily reliant on van der Walt so far this season.

So with Jaco van der Walt away getting married, and possibly then used in the Scottish Autumn Nations Cup set-up, the stand-off issues really begin for Edinburgh Rugby when Cardiff Blues visit BT Murrayfield on Monday evening.

 

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