Kinghorn Explains Edinburgh Are Focusing on the Little Things
Edinburgh’s first-choice fullback, Blair Kinghorn, spoke to the media on Monday to discuss his club’s recent prowess in their European Champions Cup encounters and how the team works well together, rather than having stand-out individuals.
Kinghorn (left) celebrates with James Johnstone and Duhan Van Der Merwe. (Photo: Edinburgh Rugby twitter)
Edinburgh have enjoyed a successful Champions Cup campaign as of late this season – topping their pool with four wins and just one loss, securing them the top spot with 19 points. Fullback Blair Kinghorn openly admitted that none of the players would have predicted this for their season.
Discussing such progress in Europe, he admitted: “We know as a squad what we’re capable of and I think we’re showing that in games. Our recent form has been really good, we’re working really hard on the back pitches here and it’s paying off in the games, so we’ll do the same this week again hopefully.”
Tomorrow night at BT Murrayfield, a win against Montpellier would secure a home quarter final for the capital club, and so, Kinghorn believes that claiming the win against Toulon in France last weekend was pivotal to the team’s belief heading in to their encounter with a team that boasts the likes of Louis Picamoles in their forward pack.
Kinghorn said: “Of course [the Toulon win was encouraging]. Montpellier have a lot of world class individuals, but they’re fairly similar to Toulon in terms of their forward pack is big and powerful.
“So, we’ve looked at them and we’ll look at them more in detail, but it is quite helpful having played another big French team the week beforehand as well as having played them in the first game of the pool.”
Richard Cockerill has named a strong team to face the Top 14 giants, with Kinghorn – on what will be his 22nd birthday – named to start at fullback. Perhaps a strong performance, and just a touch of birthday luck, will enable the home side to overcome the French challenge?
Scoring an away win against Toulon
Edinburgh scored three in their win against Toulon, and Kinghorn himself managed to see a piece of the action, collecting a James Johnstone kick just before the line, in order to dive over for the all-important five points.
Of the try, Kinghorn said: “It was a good set-piece move and then JJ just produces a brilliant bit of skill. He drops it on his toe and it sits up nicely for me. I’ll take it, but it’s all Jimmy.”
The young Edinburgh back also discussed the impact the score had on the game, and its result, saying: “I think it was massive, especially coming out near the start of the second half. It was a good momentum shifter that means we were playing on the front foot straightaway in the second half and that skill from Jimmy just to let the ball pop up into my arms was a big moment for me personally and I feel like it helped the momentum shift for the team.”
Kinghorn was involved in another of the night’s impressive tries, as it was his take of a dropped ball by Gorgodze that set up the action for Bill Mata’s – now viral – offload to Johnstone.
Describing the play, Kinghorn explained: “I heard Hamish [Watson] shouting ‘go right’, looked up and saw Bill and thought ‘there you go Bill’ and the rest is as you see. He’s a great player, world class, but as Cockers said, that support line from JJ was outstanding.
“I watched it back and he was all the way back inside the 22, he’s picked up the ball on the halfway line, great take and he’s managed to run in and score.”
He later added: “It’s great when we can score tries like that. Counter-attack tries are brilliant because the defence is always unorganised. So, we’ve got the first two phases to exploit it and we managed to do that without even having one, so a brilliant, brilliant try.”
The back-three combination
With Montpellier being the opposition, it will entail a return to the national stadium for former Scotland coach Vern Cotter, who is now in charge of the Top 14 club. However, he will be presented with a drastically different Edinburgh side than that which he selected players from a couple of years ago.
Asked about how far Edinburgh have come in their regeneration, Kinghorn responded: “I think we’re expanding as a team, getting better week-on-week; our form’s getting better away from home; little details we’re starting to see every time we review games, little habits are getting better and that’s paying off when it comes to game time. We’ve just got to keep training those little habits and improve week-on-week.”
One distinguishing feature of this current Edinburgh side, is the cohesion and skill of its back three – usually comprised of Duhan Van Der Merwe and Darcy Graham on the wings, with Kinghorn fulfilling the fullback role.
Kinghorn acknowledged their work as a trio, saying: “I feel like the whole back three generally work really well together. We’ve all got different attributes that complement each other and we’re really close knit and get on really well, which helps massively when it comes to game time.”
And the next game will be Edinburgh v Montpellier at BT Murrayfield on Friday night, with kick-off scheduled for 7:45pm.