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Solomons brings in another stand-off

IT has taken Edinburgh less than three weeks to go from a fly-half famine to a glut.

At the start of the month, they had only one player to fill the berth, 21-year-old Harry Leonard, and he sparked the current crisis when he went down with a torn thigh muscle.

The problem has been solved in two ways, a recruitment surge and the discovery that they already had ready-made cover inside their squad in Greig Tonks, who started as a fly-half and has been happily demonstrating the old habits and skills are still there.

Add two specialists brought in on trials from the southern hemisphere and, all of a sudden, Alan Solomons has an embarrassment of riches. Tony Fenner was the first and yesterday the head coach added Carl Bezuidenhout, who helped steer the Pumas franchise to victory in the Currie Cup First Division and then gain promotion to the Premier Division in a two-leg play off against the Griquas.

"Playing in Europe is something I've wanted to do for a long time now, I just needed the break and this is it," said Bezuidenhout. "I've always wanted to travel with the sport. I got married in March so it's something that we both really wanted to try as well. Hopefully I'll get a chance out on the paddock soon to play my natural game and kick on from there."

For Solomons, the 27-year-old should bring experience and control to the key position. "His game management is very good, he's got a good boot out of hand and for goal, and is very athletic," the coach said. "He now has an excellent opportunity to show us what he is capable of, while also solving an immediate issue, in that we are desperately short of fly-halves."

The problem for both the incomers is going to be dislodging Tonks from the role. "It was a bit of a last-minute fill-in but I played there when I was younger and am really comfortable there," said Tonks. "I grew up playing fly-half so, in training, I would make sure I knew all the running plays. I am really enjoying it but I'm not too sure what will happen."

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