EDINBURGH are expected to be without a number of their front-line internationals for tomorrow’s game against Benetton, but Jamie Hodgson, for one, believes that should be no cause for undue concern.

The lock forward played in the team’s last outing, away to Cardiff, when they won 25-17 despite 14 players being absent on Scotland duty. That victory - a third in a row in the United Rugby Championship following wins over Zebre and Benetton - was proof of the increasing depth of Mike Blair’s squad. And Hodgson, noting that rookie hooker Paddy Harrison played outstandingly in the Welsh capital after coming on as a very early replacement, is confident that whoever is selected for the trip to Treviso will keep up the recent high standards.

“We have so much strength in depth now,” he said. “I genuinely don't think [being without the internationals] is a concern for us. There are so many good young boys coming through who want to step up. 

“You look at Paddy Harrison, who came off the bench against Cardiff. He is putting his name out there. We have so much strength in depth that every week selection is a problem because everyone wants to be playing rugby. When they get a chance to do that they've got to take it.

“Everyone who stepped up has done a brilliant job. We've gone three from three now and we want to make that four from four. It is still the same plan and everyone is putting their hand up for selection.”

Hodgson was part of the wider Scotland squad over the past month, but was not selected for any of the four Autumn Nations Series matches - instead, his Edinburgh team-mates Grant Gilchrist, Glen Young and Sam Skinner saw game time along with the Gray brothers. So, while some of his team-mates need a break, he would prefer to get back playing. 

“I'm looking to get a run of games,” he continued. “I had a couple of days off at the back end of the week so I'm feeling fresh, feeling good and looking forward to the weekend.

“Training in camp was great, but not getting gametime was frustrating. I just want to come back and get rolling with Edinburgh again.

“We have a run of games now that are going to be so important for us - Italian Shield, league and then Europe coming up. Personally, I'm not too fussed about getting a bit of time off.”