PIERRE Schoeman has agreed a long-term contract extension with Edinburgh that increases the likelihood of his playing for Scotland as soon as he is eligible. The 25-year-old loosehead prop signed on a three-year deal in the summer of 2018 and quickly established himself as one of the supporters’ most popular players. Born in South Africa, he has said on several occasions that he plans to qualify for Scotland on residency grounds – something that in his case will take five years from his arrival in the country.
The precise length of Schoeman’s new agreement has yet to be made public, but head coach Richard Cockerill made it clear that it extends beyond the date on which he will be available to play for Scotland. “Pierre is a very good player,” Cockerill said. “If he was Scottish-qualified now, I think he’d certainly be in the mix to play. He’ll be available for the next World Cup.
“My job is to keep the squad together and keep pushing the national cause as well as my cause for Edinburgh, so hopefully he’ll be here longer than me. We’re delighted to keep him. It shows that we’ve got good players who want to stay and the environment that we’re building. We’re two and a bit years into this, so we want to keep building and getting stronger and keeping our depth and so we’re doing everything we can to keep our best players.
“I’ve coached some good looseheads and played with some and he’s as good as any of those. Part of that is his playing skill, but his personality is also a big part of it and his work ethic too. He’s just a bloody good man who works really hard and who’s a very good player too so that’s all part of the package we’re getting.
“He’s very outgoing and he’s good for the culture, because he works very hard. He comes in every day with a smile on his face and treats everybody as equal whether you’re the intern or you’re the head coach. He works hard at his game and he takes criticism well. And he’s good fun – if you want to have some fun, in all the right ways, go out with Schoey.”
Even before he had played for Edinburgh, the former South Africa Under-20 international had decided that he wanted to be eligible for Scotland. “My aspirations were to become a Springbok, but now going to Edinburgh, me and my wife’s plan is to get citizenship over there,” he said in the spring of 2018 after agreeing to join the capital side.
“The rule changed from three years citizenship to five years, but that’s perfect, because I’ll wait the five years out. I’ll give my best every day, every week, every season.”
Yesterday, Schoeman emphasised his desire to stay in Scotland for the long term. “I’m very excited to stay in Edinburgh,” he told the team’s website. “It’s been a year and a half since I arrived and I’ve enjoyed it so much.
“It’s a very professional and hard-working team and I’m incredibly excited for a long future at the club. The environment here brings the best out of me. It was a really easy decision for me. Scotland is a beautiful country and for me and my wife, we want to build a future here. I can’t wait to contribute to the success of this team.”