EDINBURGH scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne is set to join Scarlets in the summer, turning down the offer of a new contract from his current team in favour of the move to Wales.
The 24-year-old’s future has been uncertain since February, when talks with Edinburgh over extending his present deal broke down. He would now appear to have landed firmly on his feet by attracting an offer from the current PRO14 champions.
While it is thought that Hidalgo-Clyne would have been amenable to staying had the circumstances been right, Edinburgh’s new contract offer only ran until the end of December this year. The Scarlets offer is thought to be more secure for the scrum-half and his young family.
Hidalgo-Clyne has also been the subject of interest from England and France since news broke that he and Edinburgh were to part company. Scarlets are expected to confirm the move shortly, and when that happens, Edinburgh are likely to go back into the market in search of another scrum-half.
Filling the gap at No 9
In the past two months, the Murrayfield-based team has announced the signing of academy player Charlie Shiel on his first professional contract, a two-year deal that will see him join Nathan Fowles and Sean Kennedy on head coach Richard Cockerill’s roster. Shiel is a player of significant promise, but with Cockerill having strengthened his squad considerably in other areas, there still seems to be room for another, more experienced scrum-half.
The lack of strength in depth at No 9 is in sharp contrast to the situation at Glasgow. George Horne started Saturday night’s 1872 Cup match, having been selected by Dave Rennie ahead of Henry Pyrgos, who was on the bench, and Ali Price, who was dropped after a poor display a week earlier against Ulster. Should Scotland Sevens player Horne continue to mature at the rate he has shown this season, he is likely to become Warriors’ regular starting scrum-half ahead of the two internationals.
There would be an obvious imbalance if the three best scrum-halves in Scotland were all at Glasgow, and a solution on paper would be for one of the trio to move to Edinburgh. But recent transfers along the M8 have not always been successful, and in any case Cockerill may not be minded to continue the recent custom of Edinburgh accepting players who have been deemed surplus to requirement by their neighbours.
Meanwhile, there seems little doubt that, if and when the move to Scarlets is confirmed, it is exactly what Hidalgo-Clyne needs at this stage of his career. His performances for Edinburgh this season have seen him return to his best, and on that form a return to the Scotland squad could be imminent.
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