Breakthrough: Three players to watch in the Six Nations window
The Guinness Six Nations may be in full flow, but with a run of important PRO14 home fixtures just around the corner, we take a look at three up-and-coming Edinburgh stars that could make a significant impact in the coming weeks.
The Stewart’s Melville College product and former Scotland U20 star has enjoyed a breakout season so far, featuring in seven fixtures, including a Heineken Champions Cup debut in the away victory over Sale Sharks.
There’s been plenty to like about Blain’s game. The allusiveness, confidence in attack and ability to beat defenders were all attributes Blain showcased at U20 level, and they have, so far, translated to the pro game too.
Blain grabbed a brace of tries at home to Ulster earlier this season – his first in professional rugby – the opening of which highlighted the full-back’s eye for a gap and aggressiveness when hitting the line.
With his ability to switch between full-back and wing, Blain will no doubt see plenty of game in the next run of home fixtures, while his confidence continues to grow with every minute on the park.
The 22-year-old from Livingston was rewarded for his fine form earlier this year when he penned his first ‘full-time’ deal with the club, advancing from a partnership contract with FOSROC Super6 side, Watsonians.
A high-energy competitor that brings an edge with tough-tackling and a no-nonsense approach to the position, the Livingston-born lock has been an impressive, but also consistent, performer in 2020-21.
Having featured in seven fixtures so far this current campaign, Hodgson continues to go from strength to strength for his hometown team, with his chop tackling and aggressiveness in the carry adding further strings to his bow.
Hodgson has two experienced internationalists to learn from in Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis, and the former Stewart’s Melville College man already appears to be reaping the benefits of being a core part of an already talented positional group.
The loosehead prop may have only made two appearances for the capital club, but has so far impressed in limited game time, and at a position where there is certainly no hiding.
With Rory Sutherland having nailed down the No. 1 jersey for Scotland, and Pierre Schoeman carrying the bulk of the load at the position at club level, Grahamslaw will be expected to step up when called upon in the coming weeks.
Grahamslaw came off the bench in the home win over Cardiff Blues earlier this season, and showcased some of the attributes that made him one of Scotland U20’s most consistent performers two seasons ago.
Like Hodgson, the loosehead prop has displayed some ferocious carries in the loose and has held up his end of the bargain at scrum time too.
With a single win under his belt, Grahamslaw has a perfect home record for the capital club, and he’ll be keen to keep it that way if involved in the coming weeks.