BLAIR KINGHORN has insisted that Edinburgh can challenge for silverware over the next couple of seasons, and has cited his confidence in their potential as one of the key reasons for signing a new contract with the capital club.
In keeping with their usual policy, Edinburgh have not revealed the duration of the new deal agreed by the versatile 24-year-old. But, as he is still in the fairly early stages of his transition from full-back to stand-off, Kinghorn appears to have decided on a medium-term commitment – in contrast with his last contract, which was for just a single year.
As part of a squad that has lost only one competitive match since Mike Blair took over as head coach in the summer, Kinghorn is confident that Edinburgh can continue to improve for some time to come. And, if that is indeed what happens, he is certain they will have a real chance of winning a first major trophy.
“This team can achieve a lot this year,” he said. “We’ve shown our potential in the URC and even more so in our Challenge Cup win against Saracens. If we play to our potential, we’re definitely capable of getting some trophies – which is what everyone wants.
“We’ve been going really well and I still think there’s so much more growth in the team. We’ve got such an exciting squad, we’ve got a lot of depth in our squad. So I’m just happy to be a part of it and I feel like we can go on and achieve something really special – hopefully win some silverware.
“I’m really, really happy to be staying at Edinburgh for the future and I’m looking forward to what it holds. I’m an Edinburgh boy born and raised, so it’s nice to stay in my home city. I’ve grown up in Edinburgh my whole life, I’ve been an Edinburgh fan, I’ve been down at the games when I was younger. So now being able to extend my contract is something that I’m really happy about.
“I feel like you can see this season that the boys, the management, the whole club and the fans are pulling as one. We’re moving in a good direction. I love the growth that I see in this club – I feel like we’re starting to see it now and I feel like I can really add something to that in the future.”
Kinghorn’s ability to play on the wing and at full-back as well as at 10 will no doubt stand him and his teams in good stead in the coming years. But both Edinburgh head coach Blair and Scotland coach Gregor Townsend see Kinghorn’s future as primarily at stand-off, and he added that the plan both coaches had for him in the No 10 jersey was another key reason for staying put.
“Having spoken to Gregor and Mike about it, they see real growth for me playing at 10. And one of the big reasons for signing is that Mike has given me the confidence, he’s backed me.
“I feel like with the coaching staff now, with the team that we have now, and me moving to 10, it’s like a fresh start almost. If Gregor and Mike see my future at 10 and I’m seeing that as well, I wouldn’t want to be moving clubs and potentially not fulfilling that.
“I feel like I’ve still got the versatility to play in the back three. Speaking to Gregor and Mike about it and having played there in the most recent Scotland campaign, having the ability to cover 10 and the back three can be a real strength. So I’m just going to try and make myself the best 10 I can be, but then still have the ability to play on the wing or at 15.”
The signings of Emiliano Boffelli and Henry Immelman have given Edinburgh more than adequate replacements for Kinghorn at full-back. There is also increasing strength in depth on the wing, where another new signing, Ramiro Moyano, has joined a roster that also includes Darcy Graham, Jack Blain and Damien Hoyland. So, while versatility will undoubtedly continue to be one of Kinghorn’s many assets, Plan A is for him to have an extended run at stand-off.
“Blair has all the tools to be an exciting stand-off and I’m looking forward to seeing him continue to develop in that position,” Mike Blair said. “He will be a really key player for us moving forward and it’s great to see him really enjoying his rugby at the moment.
“He is an extremely versatile player, who brings added quality with his unique skill set. I’m delighted we’ve been able to retain a player of Blair’s calibre at the club. He’s a local guy and a club centurion to boot, so it’s brilliant he will be staying with us for the foreseeable future.”