MATT SMITH has switched from Glasgow Warriors to Edinburgh on a loan deal until the end of the season. The 23-year-old back-rower has scored three tries in 20 appearances for the Scotstoun outfit since making his debut against Ospreys in February 2017, but has struggled to command regular game time with just two starts and four bench appearances so far this season. His current contract runs out in May.
Edinburgh are generally well stocked in the back-row, but with Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury and now Nick Haining all established in the Scotland set-up, they could clearly do with some back-up during the Six Nations window and beyond, when the international player rest protocol dictates that Scotland squad members cannot play more than four games on the bounce. The other back-rowers currently in the squad are Viliame Mata, John Barclay, Ally Miller, Lewis Carmichael, Luke Crosbie and Mesulame Kunavula.
“I’m delighted with the opportunity to come on loan to Edinburgh,” said Smith. “I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to the rest of the season”
Smith came through the ranks at Stirling County and secured an Elite Development Programme place with Glasgow Warriors ahead of the 2014-15 season. The 6ft 1in flanker was named as a Scottish Rugby Academy Stage 3 player in 2015, before joining Premiership club Glasgow Hawks that season. He signed his first professional contract with the Warriors in December 2016 and made his debut against Ospreys the following February.
On the international stage, Smith has earned age-grade honours with Scotland U20, while the back-row was rewarded for a fine start to the 2018/19 season with a call-up to Scotland’s Guinness Six Nations squad for the 2019 Championship.
“Matt is a young, talented player who has shown during his time at Scostoun that he can perform at the highest level,” said Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill. “It’s great that he gets an opportunity here at Edinburgh and he will certainly add a different dimension to an already talented back-row.”