Ben Toolis to leave Edinburgh at end of the season

Second-row is taking up an opportunity to play in Japan's Top League

Ben Toolis is leaving Edinburgh to move to Japan. Image: ©Craig Watson
Ben Toolis is leaving Edinburgh to move to Japan. Image: ©Craig Watson

BEN TOOLIS is to leave Edinburgh at the end of the season to join a club in Japan’s Top League. The 29-year-old second-row, who initially joined the club from his native Australia alongside twin brother Alex back in 2013, has not played for the capital outfit this season and managed only six appearances over the course of the 2020-21 campaign due to a succession of injury issues.

“I’m moving on at the end of the season because I partly want to experience something new, but also move closer to home,” said Toolis, who has represented Scotland 26 times, qualifying through his mother, who is from Carluke in Lanarkshire. “When a new opportunity arose in Japan, I was so excited at the prospect of that experience, but the idea of leaving Edinburgh after nine years was also daunting.

“However, I decided that it’s the perfect time in my rugby career to experience something new and challenge myself in a different culture and environment.”

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“When I joined the club in 2013, I was so nervous to uproot my life and move across the world but I was also extremely hopeful that a career in professional rugby would be all that I imagined,” he added

“I’m pleased to say that my time at Edinburgh Rugby has completely surpassed all my expectations. I am extremely fortunate to have been part of this historic club and to have played over 100 games for Edinburgh is a huge honour for me and it’s something I am extremely proud of.

“I have been so lucky to explore and play in so many different countries and stadiums during my tenure at Edinburgh Rugby but receiving my 100th cap at BT Murrayfield Stadium in our 1872 Cup win was something I’ll never forget.

“However, the biggest highlight of my career so far is the people I have met and the friendships that I have formed. The Edinburgh Rugby boys have really made my last nine years such an enjoyable experience.

“All the players at Edinburgh Rugby have contributed into making me the player I am today due to their knowledge and ability on and off the field, so I thank them for that.”


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Toolis added that he is hoping to recover from his current knee injury and get some game-time with Edinburgh in the second half of this season before his departure.

“The past year has been extremely tough both mentally and physically due to injury,” he said. “There have been a few hiccups and delays along the way but hope to be back very soon.

“I want to finish my time at Edinburgh Rugby on a high and contribute in any way I can to help continue the momentum the club has built so far this season. I hope to pull the Edinburgh jersey on as much as I can and play for my teammates and fans.

“I would like to sincerely thank all the Edinburgh Rugby supporters for their passionate and continued support. You all made me feel so welcome when I joined the club and I have been proud to play for you all over the years.”

“I also want to thank my partner and my family back in Australia for their continued support throughout my career so far and during my time at Edinburgh Rugby.”

Edinburgh announced yesterday [Wednesday] that second-rows Jamie Hodgson and Marshall Sykes, who both picked up their first Scotland caps in the Autumn, have signed contract extensions with the club.

“We’re obviously sad to see him go given all that he’s contributed to the club, however it’s a decision that Ben has clearly given a lot of thought and consideration, and so we wish him the very best for what is an exciting opportunity in Japan,” said head coach Mike Blair.

“We’re really hopeful that we’ll see Ben in Edinburgh colours before the season is up, where he’ll have the chance to compete and add to his 127 Edinburgh Rugby appearances.”

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About David Barnes 4029 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. An outstanding player, but because he’s been injured for so long Edinburgh have learned to live without him – and they have evolved considerably as a team since he was last a regular. His declaration will probably limit his playing time for the rest of the season, as Blair looks to fashion a team for the future and move on. Going to Japan will also remove Ben from Gregor’s immediate line of sight and I doubt we will see him in a navy jersey again – which is a shame. Slightly disappointed in the comment that he wants to move ‘nearer to home’, given the nation he has been privileged to represent for so long now. Not to mention bizarre in the age of jet travel – 4,800 miles versus 5,700. The new challenge probably involves him making as much money as he can before his career is over and you can’t blame the lad for that. He has been a good servant to club & country and I wish him well. Look forward to seeing those famous flowing locks fashioned into a Samurai top-knot!

  2. A bit of a shame as he was a good solid operator but he has had a bad run of injuries for a while. Good luck to him in managing to get a big payday in Japan, though

    • Totally agree on the line-out. Secure on our own throws and gets some important steals. Also a decent jackler which adds a different threat. Sorry to see him go but as so often it comes back to there being only so much game time available with 2 pro teams.

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