RICHARD Cockerill has admitted he is taking a gamble by selecting Blair Kinghorn at stand-off for tomorrow’s Champions Cup clash with Racing 92, but believes an adventurous strategy is Edinburgh’s best chance of defeating the French side.

Normally a full-back, Kinghorn takes over at 10 from Jaco van der Walt in an Edinburgh side which also sees the return of key internationals such as wingers Darcy Graham and Duhan van der Merwe and flankers Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson. After missing out against the Dragons last week because of injury, Bill Mata also returns to the back row for a last-16 tie against a French side who are without the suspended Finn Russell.

Kinghorn has recent experience at stand-off, having moved there part of Edinburgh’s last two games. That experience, his creativity, and the fact that Van der Walt has been carrying an injury all led Cockerill to conclude the selection was the best choice available to him. 

“Blair had that cameo at Cardiff and then the best part of 60 minutes against Dragons,” the head coach said. “And the combination of Jaco having a knock and not being able to train and Blair being such a threat when he’s at 10, I just thought it was an opportunity to put him there and take the gamble and go with a slightly more attacking mindset. 

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“That could be very, very good or it could cost us, as they’re a very dangerous team if you turn the ball over. But we’re going there to go as hard as we can at them.

“We’re going to play as much as we can and see where it takes us. I don’t think it’s a game for containing them and kicking points. We’ll go there with a positive mindset.”

 

Edinburgh (v Racing 92 at Paris La Defense Arena, tomorrow 12.30pm British time): D Hoyland; D Graham, J Johnstone, G Taylor, D van der Merwe; B Kinghorn, H Pyrgos; P Schoeman, D Cherry, W Nel, M Bradbury, G Gilchrist (captain), J Ritchie, H Watson, V Mata. Subs: M Willemse, B Venter, S Berghan M Kunavula, L Crosbie, C Shiel, J van der Walt, M Bennett.

Racing 92: K Beale; T Thomas, V Vakatawa, H Chavancy (captain), L Dupichot; A Gibert, M Machenaud; E Ben Arous, C Chat, C Gomes, B Le Roux, Ryan, I Diallo, B Chouzenoux, J Joseph. Subs: T Baubigny, G Gogichashvili, A Oz, D Bird, B Palu, T Iribaren, F Trinh-Duc, S Zebo.