EDINBURGH have announced the signing of Bristol Bears Academy wing/full-back Freddie Owlsey ahead of next season on a now customary secret length contract.
The 24-year-old, who is Scottish qualified through a grandmother from Govan, grew up in Bristol as promising rugby player, footballer and track athlete.
After focusing on athletics – representing Great Britain U20 in the 200m, 400m, 4x100m and 4x400m, being crowned national 400m U20 Champion and earning a place in the British indoor and outdoor senior 200m final – Owlsey returned to rugby with the Bears Academy last summer.
“I’m completely ecstatic. I’ve always dreamed of playing in Scotland,” said Owsley. “Looking at the club and the direction its going, with new signings and the new stadium, it seems like there’s huge potential at the club, so I’m very keen to get stuck in and push for a place in the side.
“I know a lot about how strong Edinburgh’s pack is and how much of a weapon that is for the club, however I know from speaking to Richard Cockerill [Head Coach] how important speed is in the team’s system.
“I also really like the look of the new stadium and synthetic surface. It really suits me having a fast track all year round, so hopefully I’ll get some games and be able to show some speed out wide.”
Owsley’s sister Lily was a gold medallist with Team GB (hockey) at the 2016 Rio Games, while great grandfather Duncan McPherson played left back for Queens Park in the 1920s.
“My mum’s been the most involved in my sport and, being a massive Scotland fan, she couldn’t be prouder that I’m coming to Edinburgh – probably the proudest out of any of my sporting achievements, and even arguably my sister who’s won a gold medal!” he added.
“It’s something that’s always been there throughout my life, and you can’t find a much better city than Edinburgh to pursue a dream.
“The main thing I want to do it play. I’m really keen to get up there and get stuck into some rugby.”
Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill said: “Freddie is an exciting prospect for us to develop.
“He already has a lot of rugby in him, but that kind of speed you cannot teach – it’s a genetic gift which he’s worked exceptionally hard to hone at an elite level.
“He has a great work ethic, so it’ll be interesting to see how he progresses with an extended spell working with the coaches here.
“He’ll hopefully develop into a real weapon for us on the quick synthetic surface in the new stadium next season.”