Leicester Tigers have released Jonah Holmes from the final year of his contract with the club, and just minutes later announced the signing of international centre Matt Scott.
27-year-old Holmes has made 45 appearances during his three seasons in Leicester since his club debut in November 2017.
Holmes joined Tigers from Championship club Yorkshire Carnegie ahead of the 2017/18 season after stints with London Wasps and London Welsh.
During his second season at Tigers, Holmes was called up to the Wales squad by Warren Gatland and has made three Test appearances since his debut against Tonga in the 2018 autumn internationals.
Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy thanked Holmes for his contribution to the club over the past three seasons.
“We thank Jonah for what he has given to Tigers, on and off the pitch, during his three seasons with us in Leicester and we wish him all the best ahead of his next chapter,” said Murphy.
“His progression in Leicester, since arriving from the Championship, to international has been well earned and, at his request, we have chosen not to stand in the way of Jonah’s move to Wales to further his Test career.”
The Director of Rugby in-waiting added that the departure of Holmes presented an opportunity for young outside-backs to put their hands up for selection.
“We are confident in the exciting crop of youngsters making their way up the ranks at the club to kick on and stake their claim in the senior group, alongside the current outside-backs we have as well as the additions we will be making in that area,” added Murphy.
“The make-up of a squad is a balancing act and we are focused on ensuring we have a well-rounded squad, across all positions, of players committed to the journey we are on at Tigers.”
Holmes added: “I want to thank the club and supporters for everything during my time at Tigers, I have enjoyed the opportunity to represent Leicester.
“The decision was not one I took lightly and, while I will miss representing Leicester Tigers, I am excited for what is ahead for me in my next chapter.”
Meanwhile Tigers have agreed terms with Scotland international Matt Scott, who will join the club ahead of the 2020/21 season.
The centre made his professional rugby debut in 2011 as an Elite Development Player at Edinburgh, after a decorated age-grade career including appearances for Scotland at Under-19 and Under-20 levels.
At just 21, Scott was included in the Scotland ‘A’ squad before – only a month later – he was called up to the national squad and made his Test debut against Ireland in Dublin.
During the next five seasons, the Dunfermline-born Scott made 39 appearances for the national side including four at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
In his first stint at Edinburgh, Scott made more than 60 appearances before linking up with Gloucester in 2016 for two seasons and then, in 2018, returning to Edinburgh.
Speaking about the addition of the international midfielder, Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy said: “Matt is an experienced international who will add vital depth to our squad from next season.
“His knowledge of the Premiership and English game is another positive element, as well as what we know he is capable of on the pitch and compliments the talented group we have at the club.
“Matt is the type of player we feel will fit in well in Leicester on the pitch with his tough, hard-working style and a strong, good character who will add to our club off the pitch as well, which is in important to what we are building at Tigers.”
The 29-year-old, Scott, added: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining Tigers. It is one of the biggest club’s in Europe and an institution of English rugby.
“It’s a team I watched growing up, winning a lot, and if someone told me as a teenager that I would play for Tigers, I wouldn’t have believed them.”
Scott also pointed towards the faith he had in the club improving on recent seasons with the right people in place at Tigers.
“I think looking at the quality of the team and the guys who have committed to staying and those who are arriving next season was a big draw for me,” he said.
“It will take hard work and tough people to get back up, but I have no doubt the right players and staff are at Tigers to do it.”
Scott is the second international to join Leicester’s backline stocks ahead of the 2020/21 season after it was confirmed that Nemani Nadolo will move from France to Welford Road in the summer.
And Murphy said there would be more to come, specifically in the outside backs following the release of Jonah Holmes.
“We are not done just yet in the recruitment space and still have additions to announce ahead of next season,” added Murphy.
“Jonah’s departure not only offers opportunities for members of our squad we are confident can make the step up now but also spaces in the outside backs to fill with exciting, new additions to Tigers.”
Tigers will also welcome Steve Borthwick to the club in the role of head coach from July 1, with Murphy becoming director of rugby.
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