EDINBURGH have secured a major boost to their future prospects through the re-signing of Scotland flanker Hamish Watson on a “long-term contract” which will run for an undisclosed length of time.
After finding out earlier this week that winger Duhan van der Merwe and second-row Andrew Davidson will move to the English Premiership when their current contracts run out at the end of the season, news that one of the most experienced and highly-rated operators in the Scottish game has decided to stay put will be a major boost to the clubs fans. At 29, Watson still has a good few years left in the tank.
Fellow flanker Jamie Ritchie, No8 Viliame Mata, winger Darcy Graham and full-back Blair Kinghorn are among the other leading players coming out of contract in the summer.
“I have been at Edinburgh since I was 19, it really is home for me and my family,” said Watson. “My two girls were born here and we’re so happy to be spending more of our lives here.
“I feel like we have both showed each other a great deal of loyalty. I love playing for Edinburgh. It means so much to me and, like I said last time round, I can’t see myself in another team’s jersey.
“I feel like the club has been, and is, heading in the right direction to win something over the next few years. That is what I believe this group of players is capable of and it would be great to do it for the club and the fans.
“All the players can’t wait to welcome all the fans back after Covid, to our new home. I personally can’t wait to see the fans again and continue this journey.”
Watson moved north from the Leicester Tigers academy for a Scotland 7s contract in the summer of 2011, was quickly offered a place on Edinburgh’s elite development programme, and made his club debut against Cardiff Blues later that year (on the same day as fellow club centurion Grant Gilchrist).
Watson had already represented Scotland at U19, U20 and 7s level by the time he signed his first senior deal in 2014, and he has since gone on to play 36 times for the full national side.
“This is really fantastic news for Edinburgh and a great statement on our plans for this squad for the seasons ahead,” said Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill.
“We’re delighted he’s staying – any coach would be happy to have him – and will continue to bring his relentless approach to rugby every time he takes to the field.
“He’s an incredible, world class athlete and rugby player and shows incredible commitment every time he takes to the field for club or country, but he also has a very good rugby brain.
“He’s a very popular and senior member of our player group and it’s great to have him committed to the club for the foreseeable future.”