EDINBURGH have confirmed the recruitment of two young Scottish-qualified back-five forwards ahead of next season in the shape of Andrew Davidson from Glasgow Warriors and Marshall Sykes from the Ayrshire Bulls Super6 franchise (where he was a Fosroc Scottish Rugby Academy Stage 3 player).
Both are former Scotland Under-20s caps and will battle for game-time against established Scotland caps Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis (as well as provide cover during the international windows). Fraser McKenzie is also an option in the second-row, while Lewis Carmichael is expected to be utilised predominantly in the back-row.
“We’re really excited to secure the signatures of both Andrew and Marshall – they’re two players that add further strength and depth to our squad,” said Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill.
“Andrew gained plenty of experience down at Newcastle Falcons, while he’s been impressive in limited game time since his return to Glasgow.
“Marshall is still pretty raw, but he’s extremely hardworking and we believe that he has the potential to develop into a really talented lock or back-row.
“We look forward to working with both players moving forward.”
23-year-old Davidson came through the ranks at Glasgow’s Kelvinside Academy, played club rugby for Glasgow Hawks in the Scottish Premiership, had a short loan spell with London Scottish, then joined Newcastle Falcons in the summer of 2016, where he played 28 games during a two-year spell at Kingston Park.
Davidson initially returned to Scotland on a loan deal with Glasgow Warriors in August 2018, before signing a full-time deal for the 2019-20 campaign.
“The opportunity to join Edinburgh came up and I thought it would be a great place for me to further develop and improve as a player,” said Davidson. “Edinburgh have shown over the past few seasons that they are one of the best clubs in the league and I’m looking forward to getting started with my new teammates.”
Meanwhile, 20-year-old Sykes was born in the English town of Woodbridge and educated at Ipswich’s St Joseph’s College. He qualifies for Scotland through his Dundee-born Grandmother.
A back-row/lock hybrid forward, he represented Scotland at U18s level before making his U20s debut during the 2018 U20 Six Nations. He was due to play a second season at that age-grade during 2018-19 but missed most of the campaign with a serious knee injury.
He bounced back in fine style playing for the Bulls (whilst training with Warriors) during the 2019-20 campaign.
“I’m very grateful for all the support that I have received during the past two years in the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy,” said Sykes.
“It’s helped my development massively and opened up this opportunity to join a top club like Edinburgh.
“Edinburgh is clearly a club that prides itself on being physical which is definitely an area that I believe I can excel in.
“For me, it’s now about getting myself in the best condition to hit the ground running for the upcoming season. I hope to make a good impression from the get go and make my mark with my new teammates.”