EDINBURGH RUGBY head coach Richard Cockerill has revealed that Darcy Graham has been ruled out of the remainder of the Six Nations.

The winger has been suffering from an on-going knee injury that has kept him out of Scotland’s first three games of the tournament but when he rejoined the squad ahead of the Italy game, there was hope the 22-year-old may recover in time to see some action in the France or Wales clashes.

However, Cockerill revealed that his player has had a reaction in his knee and is likely to spend the next four to six weeks on the sidelines.

“Darcy went training with Scotland last week and had a slight reaction to that knee issue,” said Cockerill.

“He won’t be fit for us or Scotland, I wouldn’t have thought. I can’t see him playing in the next four to six weeks.”

Graham’s absence may be a blow for both club and country but Cockerill is building a squad that has more than enough strength-in-depth to cope with injury-enforced absences.

The capital side has seen a significant number of its squad sign contract extensions over the past couple of months but one player who has still to decide his future is stand-off, Simon Hickey.

The New Zealander has been at Edinburgh since November 2017 and has shared duties in that time with Jaco van der Walt. However, after struggling to get game-time in his first year with the club, he has seen far more action this season and with the 26-year-old’s contract expiring this summer, Cockerill is keen to see the Kiwi put pen to paper.

But if Hickey does not choose to remain in Edinburgh, Cockerill will be keen to bring in a experienced stand-off rather than rely purely on what he already has at his disposal.

“It’s what (Hickey) wants to do, what that costs, all those things. At the moment we spend our budget, our budget has stayed pretty much the same but players become more expensive,” said Cockerill.

“We would bring someone in (if Hickey leaves). At the moment there is not a young Scotsman who can step up and do that job well enough for us. We want to bring someone in who is Scottish qualified and develop them but they are few and far between.

“If we had to have a run with Jaco injured, Simon has done a great job and Duncan Weir before him but a 20-year-old with no experience – and there aren’t any standout ones at the moment. We will keep looking. There are one or two to look at at the moment and see if one of those guys can be brought in at some point to help develop.”

From Hickey’s perspective, he wants nothing more than to be playing regular rugby. There are, he reveals, conversations ongoing about a contract renewal, with his primary motivation being to ensure he is at a club where he can play at the highest level possible.

“We’re in chats about it but I’m just doing my best to focus on the rugby,” he said.

“As a player, you want to challenge yourself and you do that by playing in the best leagues and the Champions Cup is the best in Europe. Teams playing in the best competitions are the most appealing.

“As a 10, it takes a while to mature and learn your game so I’m hoping my best years are still ahead of me. I want to be at a place where I’m pushing to get better and get to play a lot of rugby.”

Cockerill also confirmed that Van der Walt and WP Nel have had their one year contract extensions automatically activated, ensuring they will both be at Murrayfield for at least one more season.