Blair Kinghorn signs for Toulouse after Edinburgh agree a six-figure release fee

Full-back will play against Benetton and Ulster over the next two weekends before making the switch to France

Blair Kinghorn will leave Edinburgh to join Toulouse in a fortnight's time. Image: © Craig Watson -
Blair Kinghorn will leave Edinburgh to join Toulouse in a fortnight's time. Image: © Craig Watson -

BLAIR KINGHORN will leave Edinburgh to sign for French Top 14 side Toulouse on 4th December, subject to a medical. The full-back will play for the capital side in Friday night’s home URC clash against Benetton and the following weekend’s away game against Ulster before making the move on 4th December, with his new club paying a six-figure fee to buy out the 26-year-old’s contract.

Kinghorn’s current contract with the Edinburgh was set to end in June, and he had intimated his intention to move to the French side at that point before this deal was agreed. His new contract with Toulouse – who are currently fifth in the French Top 14 after six rounds of matches – is for three years. He will compete against France full-back Thomas Ramos and Italian star Ange Capuozzo for game-time in his new club’s back three, while Antoine Dupont, Roman Ntamack, Cyril Baille, François Cros and Anthony Jelonch are also on the Toulouse roster.

“This has been a really tough decision,” said Kinghorn. “I’ve called this place home for nine years and have massive loyalty to this club. It gave me everything in my career so far and was the start of my professional rugby journey. I feel like they’ve really got the best out of me.

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“Joining Toulouse is an opportunity that’s come forward that I think will be good for me as a person, and to develop my career and my game. It’s a big decision, but I feel like it’s the right move for me.

“I’m really grateful to Edinburgh, for seeing this as great opportunity for me to develop personally and as a rugby player, but it is still going to be a sad day.”

Edinburgh have depth in the back three, including internationalists Duhan van der Merwe, Darcy Graham and Emiliano Boffelli (the latter two are currently injured) as well as Wes Goosen and youngsters coming through such as Nathan Sweeney and Harrry Patterson.

Edinburgh Rugby Senior Coach Sean Everitt  said: “Blair is an Edinburgh boy through and through, a home-grown club centurion and Scotland internationalist – he’s certainly the type of quality player we’d have liked to retain in the blue and orange of Edinburgh Rugby.

“His intention to leave at the end of his current contract certainly played a part in our decision to agree to his premature release, as well as our well-documented strength and depth in the back-three.

“It was on that basis, we agreed reluctantly to this release in return for payment of a significant sum from Toulouse, which we’ll now consider carefully how best it can be reinvested in the club.

“We wish Blair all the very best in is new challenge in France and thank him for his commitment to the club.”

Kinghorn joined his hometown team in May 2015 and Friday night’s game will be his 138th appearance in Edinburgh colours.

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About David Barnes 3821 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he 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.


    • Ramos is covering ten with Ntamack out, Toulouse play Capuzzo on the wing, Kinghorn can cover all three positions.

      He’ll get plenty of game time.

  1. Fair play to him and looks like a decent deal for the SRU. Good luck to all parties.

    Sad reality is that the Scottish public aren’t interested enough in rugby for us to keep superstars at club level. They would rather spend their cash at the fitba or in the pub and that means we are unlikely to move forward from where we are right now.

    Unfortunately there are just so many reasons why we can’t compete with Ireland or France at club or international level and not all of them are the SRU’s fault!

    Ireland got lucky with their golden generation, won four 6N titles in a decade and the sport exploded – if they hadn’t been so successful a decade ago then I believe they wouldn’t have anything like the set-up that they have now. I’d hoped our moment was finally coming a couple of years ago but we fluffed our lines in the 2021 6 nations despite being the best side in the competition. I fear that it was a huge setback for the game in our country as Ireland and France are now so far ahead that we won’t catch them for the foreseeable.

    • It’s design not luck! They keep pathways open for their youngsters to develop and don’t write 95% of them off at 15. They have proper IRFU development officers at every club and promote club rugby at every opportunity. They don’t have 2/3 of their pro players from outside of Ireland. Young players like Prendergast get to play pro rugby while we have 24 yr olds who have never played 15 min for Glasgow or Edinburgh in a competitive game. None of this is down to good luck or fortune or genetics or any of the other guff excuses that are regularly trotted out. They have real pros in charge of their sport on barely a quarter of what Dodson steals out of the sport. Hiding behind these ludicrous excuses is what stops us from starting long process of turning things around.

  2. The difference between the Irish and Scottish clubs is that they seem to be able to hang onto their best players, while ours are stripped at will – Kinghorn being just the latest to join the Hogg and Russell pathway southward. It is one of the reasons why despite us both being wee countries, our national teams are in such different places. And unlike theirs, our clubs will not contend at the very top of the European game either. Ironic that this weekend Leinster and Munster will do battle – two outfits that between them provided the vast bulk of an Irish side that could and maybe should have won the World Cup. Can you imagine Sexton or Ringrose departing for a fat cheque? Of course not – absolutely unthinkable. It’s hard to hear and some may not have the heart nor stomach to admit it, but absolutely true for all that. I don’t blame the boy for wanting to follow his dreams – and if we don’t have the financial wherewithal then we will have to remain in our place.

    • With only 2 pro teams as opposed to 4 in Ireland, the arguement will be that established players need to be moved on to make way for younger players and keep the conveyer belt ticking. This seems to have been the SRU model of late as highlighted with the players you’ve mentioned. Not sure if it’s the right or wrong model but how else are players supposed to develop and get game time with only 46 places available each week in Scottish pro teams. IRFU have shown that they’re prepared to move players around the 4 teams to make way for upcoming talents but we dont have that luxury here.

      A big name departure in the backs at Edinburgh has been on the cards since Duhan VDM returned, no way could the budget cover Graham, VDM, Kinghorn and Boffelli long term so the fact that Edinburgh can get one off the wage bill and recoup some cash with the transfer fee makes it the ideal commerical move.

      Also worth noting that Sexton did move on for a nice pay day when he spent a couple of seasons at Racing – maybe not so unthinkable afterall

      • Would that we had such a conveyor belt KO. The Irish are so successful because they have an outstanding approach to development and they manage subsequently to retain the assets they nurture in all four of their teams. Despite all the endless talk, we have failed to instil such a system at grass roots level. You only have to look at the U20s’ recent performances to note just how desperately poor is our plight. I’m absolutely all for promoting local talent rather than relying on second- or third-rate imports to fill the void, but Glasgow and Edinburgh are full of them because local lads aren’t coming through in sufficient numbers. The latter had 10 props on its books last season, not one of who was born in Scotland. In terms of affording salaries, you’d think that the SRU could keep hold of its prize assets, given that we only have two teams. The Irish guys on other rugby strings think we’re nuts and are asking why aren’t we fronting up financially to stop this kind of thing from happening time and again? Assuming we are poorer than church mice, the Scottish clubs will forever be competing in Europe against teams containing the best Scottish players. It’s a sad state of affairs which we seem far too willing to accept.

    • Dont forget Sonsie that a very pro sport Irish government put tax reliefs in place for Irelands professional rugby players as they understand the benefits to the nation of promoting and supporting national sporting success. In my time Ireland were more often the whipping boys in the 5 nations and I agree that there is no doubt they were very close to winning the WC.

      • the tax break is for all pro sportsmen/Women. As you say, Govt policy. I suppose its the SRU’s fault the UK govt wont oblige

    • Sexton did have a stint at Racing in his 20’s mind… Paying less top rate tax in Ireland than they would in France (or Scotland for that matter) also probably helps them make up the difference in gross salary.

      • Two seasons in fairness. If we got Blair back, I’d be a very happy but I recon he’s gone for longer than that.

    • Sexton departed for a fat cheque, to Racing. And like it or not he was a flop who ran home as soon as he could. Racing then signed someone called Carter to replace him. He was quite good. When he went they signed a proper 10 who stayed ages and thrived
      I hope Kinghorn thrives half as well as Russell did and 10 times better than Sexton did

      Irish players tend to stay in Ireland because they have a policy of play in Ireland to play for Ireland. With 4 pro teams that is a good policy. With 2 pro teams it would be madness. I well recall one Matt Williams wanting “fortress Scotland” – ie the Irish system (he had coached Leinster) – he was righty lambasted for utter stupidity

  3. Wow up against Capuzo and Ramos, that’s some challenge, please develop the next Scottish 15… not the next SA 6th team 15 🤷‍♂️ Good luck Blair, never argue with someone pushing themselves.

  4. Hopefully the money will make its way down the other end of the M8 and pay for Fin Smith’s salary.

    • Fin Smith has nailed his colours to England’s mast. Harry Patterson & Nathan Sweeney are the ones who need to be brought on. As well as Kyle Rowe at Glasgow and Tom Roebuck at Sale

    • Fin Smith has nailed his colours to England’s mast. Harry Patterson & Nathan Sweeney are the ones who need to be brought on. As well as Kyle Rowe at Glasgow and Tom Roebuck at Sale.

    • Fin Smith has clearly said he wants to play for England. Let’s leave him to do that and develop players who want to play for Scotland.

  5. Get the point about unknown South Africans. Just hope Patterson and Sweeney get a good run at the shirt first. Would save a lot of money and might benefit Scotland if one of them shapes up well. Good luck Blair.

  6. 100% good news for Blair and Scotland, bad news for Edinburgh.
    For those already quivering about the arrival of a SA journeyman, which Scottish prospect is being readied to fill Blairs boots?

  7. Emails already being sent out to all second rate South African 15’s advertising the opportunity. No way will that six figure sum be ringfenced for Edinburgh’s purposes. Good luck to Kinghorn though, he’s a quality player and a nice bloke

  8. You can’t blame the lad for taking a big wage increase and a chance to challenge himself in a different environment. Hopefully a big plus for Scotland as well. Always a big weird to see a player leave mid season and you’d think a truly ambitious club would want to keep their best players. We’ve got good options in the back 3 but there’s always one or 2 out and we might struggle if Boff isn’t good to go any time soon. In these tight times I assume a 100k now plus removing a salary is just too tempting to turn down. Best of luck to Blair and thanks for the service.

  9. Best of luck to Blair on this next chapter. I’m sure he will be fit from the experience.

    On a related tack – rugby moving inexorably towards football. Transfer fees and player depreciation. Granted there won’t be many moves invoking a fee but it needs to be accounted for.

    • There’s barely enough money to pay rugby players salaries let alone transfer fees.

      Think this will remain an unusually exception rather than the typical process for some time yet.

  10. All the very best luck to Kinghorn, a splendid servant to Edinburgh, hoping he can step up and improve his all round game to become a top international player.
    I’d recall Savala and tell him he’s a FB now

  11. Aye Fraser a coaching team that has won a hell of a lot more silverware than our “visionary” coach

  12. Can we offer Toulouse Mr Dodson for £10,000,000 and maybe GT and a few others to help balance the books ?

    Kinghorn will be missed, but it will be interesting to see how he developes with a different coaching team who, hopefully, will not muck about with what position he plays, like some people have done in the past.

  13. Perhaps that “significant sum” can be seen as a return on the £2.5m capital investment made in pro player wages, and paid back to Union to be re-invested in grassroots rugby.

    • Here’s the thing Pegj. As even the most junior accountant knows, capital investment is in an asset that generates a return. Paying higher salaries doesn’t do that so therefore can’t be investment. Was it funded from investment funds? Of course it was but that’s doesn’t make it an investment.

      And the £10.5m in the accounts for revenue from professional rugby isn’t broken down in any detail so highly unlikely we will see how this is accounted for.

    • Here’s the thing Pegj. As even the most junior accountant knows, capital investment is in an asset that generates a return. Paying higher salaries doesn’t do that so therefore can’t be investment. Was it funded from investment funds? Of course it was but that’s doesn’t make it an investment.

      And the £10.5m in the accounts for revenue from professional rugby isn’t broken down in any detail so highly unlikely we will see how this is accounted for.

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