LEICESTER TIGERS have signed Scotland centre Matt Scott from Edinburgh ahead of the 2020-21 season, with the 29-year-old vowing to play a role in helping the Welford Road return to competing for silverware at the top of the English and European game.
“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Tigers. It is one of the biggest club’s in Europe and an institution of English rugby,” he said. “It’s a team I watched growing up, winning a lot, and if someone told me as a teenager that I would play for Tigers, I wouldn’t have believed them.”
“I think looking at the quality of the team and the guys who have committed to staying and those who are arriving next season was a big draw for me,” he added.
The former Scotland age-grade cap came to prominence playing stand-off for Currie [now Currie Chieftains] in the Scottish Premiership, before signing for Edinburgh, initially as an Elite Development Player, in the summer of 2011.
He made an almost immediate impact playing in the centre for the capital club and earned a Scotland call-up at the subsequent Six Nations, debuting off the bench against Ireland during that championship.
He was a a regular fixture in the Scottish midfield for the next four years, but has been in the international wilderness since his 39th cap against Australia during the summer of 2017, largely due to a series of injuries which have limited his game time and prevented him from building up a real head of steam.
Scott previously spent two years playing in the English Premiership for Gloucester between 2016 and 2018, before returning to his hometown club. He missed most of the 2018-19 season with a concussion, but after a good pre-season last summer he was in some of the best form his career during the 2019-20 campaign, and was a member of Gregor Townsend‘s Six Nations training squad, before the coronavirus closed down all rugby last month.
Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill is understood to have been keen to retain Scott’s services, but with the capital club fairly well stocked in the middle of the park – Mark Bennett, Chris Dean, James Johnstone, George Taylor and now Jordan Venter – it appears they could not fit him in under budget.
Leicester Tigers are one of the traditional powerhouses of English club rugby but endured a tough 2019-20 season, managing just four wins and a draw from 13 matches before the lockdown, leaving them ahead of only Saracens – who had been hit with a 105 points deduction for salary cap breaches – in the Premiership table.
“Matt is an experienced international who will add vital depth to our squad from next season,” said Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy. “His knowledge of the Premiership and English game is another positive element, as well as what we know he is capable of on the pitch and compliments the talented group we have at the club.
“Matt is the type of player we feel will fit in well in Leicester on the pitch with his tough, hard-working style and a strong, good character who will add to our club off the pitch as well, which is in important to what we are building at Tigers.”
Scott is the second internationalist added to the Tigers backline ahead of next season, following Fijian star Nemani Nadolo‘s recruitment from Montpellier. “We are not done just yet in the recruitment space and still have additions to announce ahead of next season,” promised Murphy.