Darcy Graham’s return a boost for Edinburgh and Scotland as winger plays 71 minutes of Challenge Cup win

Aside from a bonus-point victory which puts them back in the mix for qualification for the round of 16, the other big positive in Edinburgh’s 34-21 win over Castres was the return of Darcy Graham.

The magical winger made an unexpected comeback to the action in the Challenge Cup match at Hive Stadium. He hadn’t played since hobbling out of Scotland’s World Cup loss to Ireland on October 7.

Head coach Sean Everitt of Edinburgh had planned to give Graham 20–30 minutes off the bench against the French team, but after nine minutes, Harry Paterson went down with a head injury, forcing Graham into action. Graham contributed to the home team’s victory with two tries from Duhan van der Merwe, as well as ones from Wes Goosen, Ali Price, and Matt Currie. Graham seemed enough animated without having too many opportunities to

trademark runs but his availability after knee and hip injuries is a huge boost for club and country.

“He was busy, wasn’t he?” said Stevie Lawrie, Edinburgh’s assistant coach. “He was making those wee half-breaks but they managed to shut him down in the main. I thought Duhan might have passed it to him for that walk-in try.”

“He had that moment of madness on that offload but we’ll let him away with it,” added Lawrie, referring to a risky attempted pass by Graham as Edinburgh defended deep in the second half.

The home side did the bulk of their good work with the wind at their backs in the first half, scoring four tries to go in at the interval 27-7 ahead. Castres came back strongly after the break, adding two tries through

Although Antoine Bouzerand’s first-half effort was matched by substitutes Wayan de Benedittis and Leone Nakarawa, it wasn’t enough to gain a bonus point, which delighted Lawrie despite his dissatisfaction with his team’s second-half performance.

Turning around and facing the wind is never easy, according to Lawrie. “I think we’ll reflect hard on that second half because part of the strategy is to hold the ball a little bit longer and you can’t be loose with it.”

As early as the ninth minute, center Adrea Cocagi’s red card for the head-to-head challenge that hurt Paterson brought Castres down to 14 men. In the first half, they also sent prop Aurelien Azar to the sin bin.

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