ARGENTINEAN full-back Emiliano Boffelli could make his first appearance of the season for Edinburgh against the Lions at the DAM Health Stadium on Friday night, despite today being the first time he has trained with the squad since before the summer.

The 27-year-old, who wasted no time in establishing himself as a fans’ favourite by scoring a try three minutes into his debut against the Dragons last November, has been away on international duty with the Pumas in the Rugby Championship since the end of July.

Before that, he played a leading role in breaking Scottish hearts when scoring the series-clinching try for the Pumas in the final match of this summer’s tour – but Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair isn’t going to hold a grudge over that.

“He was back here last week getting his visa and everything sorted out, so he’ll be in training tomorrow and we’ll see how he is from there,” said Blair during yesterday’s press briefing. “He got through the internationals very well, played well, and doesn’t appear to have come back with any injury issues at all. We’ll see how he integrates back into the group.

“I saw most of his games in the Rugby Championship and he’s playing with a lot of confidence at the moment,” Blair added. “His goalkicking has been excellent over the piece and his high ball work has been good too. He’s been able to get his hands on the ball a bit more which is great.

“So, he’ll come back to us with lots of confidence and, yeah, he’ll have a chance to play on Friday.”

Blair was tight-lipped about whether any of the players who picked up knocks against the Stormers on Saturday are likely to be fit for the Lions game but did indicate that there is nothing causing serious concern. Centre Mark Bennett went off with a shoulder injury just after half-time, No 8 Nick Haining suffered a concussion, and flanker Jamie Ritchie retired with bruised ribs before the end.

“It is probably taking a little bit longer to assess the injuries from the game with the travelling, but the guys are in today with the physio and we should get a report early afternoon on how they are getting on,” Blair said. “There are no long-term issues, but certainly a few bumps and bruises.”

Having pushed the Bulls and the Stormers – last season’s URC finalists – all the way in their own backyards during the last fortnight, Edinburgh will start Friday’s home match as favourites against the team which tends to be regarded as the weakest of the four South African franchises in the URC. However, that status will be of the warm rather than red-hot variety because their opponents have had a promising start to the season which has seen them bounce back from an opening weekend loss at home to the Bulls by claiming back-to-back away wins over the Ospreys and Cardiff.

“They’ve been excellent haven’t they?” said Blair. “They’ve just got this never-say-die attitude about them.

“They’re a really cohesive group who work really hard for each other and have a sprinkling of stardust in there as well.

“Like the Stormers and the Bulls they’re a big physical side. You’ve got to be able to match them and get at least parity in the set-piece. And then look to be smart around how you manipulate them.

“They’ve made good strides. They were good last year and very difficult to beat at home in Johannesburg. We felt that we could have done a little bit better out there [Edinburgh lost that game 15-9 and didn’t play them at the DAM Health Stadium]. But they’re certainly a team playing with cohesion and confidence at the moment.

“We’re really looking forward to the game,” he added. “We loved the Dragons game, being back in front of our crowd and getting them behind us. And it is club appreciation night - with the guys pulling on the socks of their boyhood club as part of a wider appreciation of the grassroots game – so that’s an extra bit of motivation for the squad.

“The home games are really important to us. We built a lot of momentum through our home fixtures last year, not losing at the DAM Health Stadium until the end of the season.

“The weather is looking pretty windy at the moment. It’s going to be a tough week for training, but we’ve got to find a way to take on this South Africa team and come out with the points.”