Struggling Edinburgh have been handed a major boost for 2021/22 and beyond, the agreement of a new long-term contract that will keep back row Hamish Watson at the club for the foreseeable future. Edinburgh had been dealt blows on successive days this week with Duhan van der Merwe and Andrew Davidson announcing their respective departures to Worcester and Gloucester in the Gallagher Premiership.
However, some better news has arrived by way of the decision of Watson to stick with the Guinness PRo14 club. The 29-year-old, who has made 116 appearances for the club since he joined the academy aged 19 and has earned 36 caps for his country, said: “I have been at Edinburgh since I was 19, it really is home for me and my family. My two girls were born here and we are so happy to be spending more of our lives here.
“I feel like we have both showed each other a great deal of loyalty. I love playing for Edinburgh. It means so much to me and I can’t see myself in another team’s jersey.
“I feel like the club has been, and is, heading in the right direction to win something over the next few years. That is what I believe this group of players is capable of and it would be great to do it for the club and the fans.
“All the players can’t wait to welcome all the fans back after covid, to our new home. I personally can’t wait to see the fans again and continue this journey.”
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— Edinburgh Rugby (@EdinburghRugby) January 6, 2021
Watson moved north from the Leicester Tigers academy for a Scotland 7s contract in summer 2011 and a string of impressive showings led to a place on Edinburgh’s elite development programme and his club debut that year. Watson had already represented Scotland at U19, U20 and Scotland 7s by the time he had signed a senior deal in 2014 and he made his Scotland Test debut in 2015.
Delighted to keep Watson on his roster, Edinburgh boss Richard Cockerill added: “This is really fantastic news for Edinburgh and a great statement on our plans for this squad for the seasons ahead. We’re delighted he is staying – any coach would be happy to have him – and will continue to bring his relentless approach to rugby every time he takes to the field.
“He’s an incredible, world-class athlete and rugby player and shows incredible commitment every time he takes to the field for club or country, but he also has a very good rugby brain. He’s a very popular and senior member of our player group and it’s great to have him committed to the club for the foreseeable future.”
Van der Merwe's move to the Premiership has raised the debate again on eligibility rules. https://t.co/HCicld6SKM
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 5, 2021
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