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Guinness PRO12 Rising Stars: Darcy Graham

Paul Eddison

17 Jul 2017

It’s a summer of change at Myreside as Edinburgh look to bounce back from a difficult season in the Guinness PRO12 under the leadership of new head coach Richard Cockerill.

Although they struggled in the league, Edinburgh did reach the knockout stages of the European Challenge Cup, and showed promise going into next season.

The most eye-catching moves of their summer were in the centres, with Mark Bennett joining from Glasgow Warriors and Robbie Fruean coming from Bath.

However just as intriguing is the new intake from the Edinburgh academy, and as Scotland Under-20s continue on their upward trajectory, there is plenty of talent available to Cockerill.

One of the most exciting of that bunch is Darcy Graham, the winger or full-back who signed a two-year deal in February.

FOLLOWING IN HOGG’S FOOTSTEPS

As a flying back-three player from Hawick, Graham has drawn inevitable comparisons with Stuart Hogg, a two-time Lion and two-time Six Nations Player of the Championship.

According to the Scotsman, there are some at Hawick who claim that Graham is further along the development path than Hogg at the same age, and Edinburgh will certainly be hoping that is true.

Like Hogg, he certainly has the pace to shine at the top level, and his versatility in the back three should stand him in good stead when it comes to bidding for game time next year.

UNDER-20s STAR

Graham has not yet made his Guinness PRO12 debut, but at Under-20s level he has shown himself to be a constant threat with ball in hand.

He first came to the attention of many with a wonder try against Australia at the World Rugby Under-20s Championship last year, and he has kicked on at age group level this season.

In the Six Nations he scored three tries before going onto score four more at the World Under-20s as Scotland recorded their highest-ever finish of fifth.

As well as his Under-20s exploits, Graham has also shown his attacking prowess on the Sevens circuit, making his debut at the Hong Kong Sevens in April.

FITTING IN AT EDINBURGH

Working under Cockerill and Duncan Hodge, who will be backs coach having spent last season as acting head coach, Graham will have the chance to establish himself at Edinburgh.

When he initially signed, Hodge didn’t hold back in his assessment of Graham’s potential, now the 19-year-old (who turns 20 on Friday) has the chance to prove him right.

“Darcy is one of the most exciting prospects in Scottish rugby,” Hodge had said.

“He’s an extremely talented rugby player and a natural athlete. With the commitment and competitive drive he possesses, we’re sure he’ll thrive in a fully-professional environment.”

Alongside Blair Kinghorn, with whom he played at Under-20s level last year, Graham could be a potential breakout star in the Scottish capital next season.