After seeing two players sign deals with clubs in the Gallagher Premiership this week amid a difficult season in the Guinness PRO14, Edinburgh fans have welcomed the long-term contract extension of Hamish Watson. 

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With the departure of both Duhan van der Merwe and Andrew Davidson announced – the winger is set to join Worcester and the lock signing for Gloucester next season – there were fears that the exodus of players leaving Scotland might extent to the hugely respected flanker. 

There are few players more popular and influential Edinburgh as players than Watson. Never has a player been better suited to the nickname ‘Pinball’ and Watson’s effervescent ball carrying and energy on the pitch have helped him become a fan favourite in the Scottish capital and for the national team. 

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Goodbye 2020!

He is a guaranteed starter for both Richard Cockerill and Gregor Townsend and has a very real chance of making the British and Irish Lions later this year, so there would have been plenty of interest in him. 

The message this extension deal sends out makes Watson’s re-signing different from others. Aside from Edinburgh’s leaving players, Glasgow Warriors’ Adam Hastings is also Gloucester-bound next season and Watson’s back row partner for club and country, Jamie Ritchie, has also been linked with a move away at the end of his contract this year. 

With Scotland captain Stuart Hogg and Jonny Gray also playing for Exeter Chiefs and Finn Russell starring for Racing 92, the list of exiled Scottish stars is growing year by year. There is a case that the Test team may benefit from this, but Glasgow and Edinburgh suffer. 

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To many fans, keeping hold of Watson is, therefore, a sign of Edinburgh’s ambition under Cockerill and an indication that their progress over the last two years could continue. 

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