Sean Everitt remains desperate to keep Blair Kinghorn at Edinburgh amid growing speculation around his future. 

The 26-year-old has been at his hometown club since making his debut in 2015 after leaving Edinburgh Academy but his contract expires at the end of the season. It’s understood that Kinghorn is attracting major interest from rival European clubs with French giants Toulon determined to secure his signature. 

Everitt has recently spoken of his admiration for the Scotland international, stating that he could develop into ‘one of the best full-backs in the world’. While it’s unlikely that Kinghorn will leave mid-season, Edinburgh face a major fight to keep one of their prized assets in the capital for next campaign.

“We’d love to keep Blair,” Everitt admitted. “I’ve said before that he’s a man with immense talent and we saw glimpses of what he can do against Leinster and his counter-attacking against the Lions. We’d like to keep Blair and his contract is up at the end of the season, but hopefully we can renew it.” 

When asked if he understood the interest in Kinghorn, Everitt added: “Yeah, definitely. It’s not often that you get a full-back with that counter-attacking ability. He’s able to turn a game on its head like you saw at the weekend. He received a long-kick and he waltzed through the defence to put James Lang away for a try. He’s a great player and he’s versatile as well. He’s played No.10 alot for Edinburgh and he can play at wing or centre. He’s definitely worth keeping.” 

While Edinburgh will do everything in their power to convince Kinghorn to extend his deal, Everitt admits he’s not held talks with the Scotland star over his future, but he accepted that the speculation over Toulon’s interest is probably true.

READ MORE: Edinburgh's Javan Sebastian on Scotland World Cup disappointment

“No [I've not spoken to Blair], because I’ve just heard rumours like you have," he added. "I don’t listen to rumours but I know when there’s smoke, there is fire. Until we get factual information around that then we can’t really comment.” 

Kinghorn will be faced with a big decision this summer and it’s been reported that initial discussions with Toulon and his representatives were positive. The French side have greater financial resources than Edinburgh and Everitt is under no illusions about their pulling power. 

“I’m not sure about what his worth is,” Everitt replied when asked if Edinburgh can compete with Toulon financially. “At the end of the day, I know about the finances in French rugby from my time in South Africa. Siya Kolisi was bought out of his contract at the Sharks so there is a lot of money but it’s also about what Blair wants to do. I’m sure that Edinburgh would like to keep Blair here because it’s his home. Ultimately it’s his decision and hopefully it’s going towards Edinburgh.”

Kinghorn will line-up for Edinburgh on Saturday night against Connacht in the capital, but Everitt will be without another Scotalnd international in Hamish Waston. The influential flanker sustained a facial injury in the weekend defeat to Leinster and he’s expected to be sidelined for several weeks.

“It’s a blow because he got man of the match against the Lions and he was doing pretty well against Leinster,” said Everitt. “Unfortunately he got that head knock pretty early and he did well to carry through until half-time. Losing a British and Irish lion and a guy who has been in form is a loss to the team but it’s a great opportunity. 

“Connor Boyle came on at half-time against the Dragons and he could have walked away with the man of the match from those 40 minutes. It’s a great opportunity for a guy who has always been second fiddle at Edinburgh. Let’s see if he can stake a claim to keep that No.7 jersey - that’s going to be his challenge.” 

Edinburgh will, however, welcome captain Ben Vellacout back against Connacht while Jamie Ritchie has also returned to training. Connacht are the only URC side to hold an unbeaten record after three games - including a win over Glasgow - and Everitt is expecting a tough game against the Irish outfit. 

“Every week is a battle in the URC,” he added. “We saw how Connacht can go with ball in hand in the first 40 minutes against us last season when we played them here. They had a good comeback against Ulster so it’s a team who doesn’t go away. We know they’ve got that fight within themselves and we know it’s not going to be an easy team to play against. 

“We were disappointed with our performance from the weekend and we need to look at that. It was extremely disappointing to lose like that when we had opportunities. The boys will be keen to bounce back and show what they can do against an unbeaten Connacht team. Every team is beatable, however, and we will be going out to get the win on Saturday.”