South African Henry Immelman joins Edinburgh’s ranks

Outside back makes the switch to the Scottish capital from Montpellier

Henry Immelman will join Edinburgh's ranks next season. Image: ©Craig Watson
Henry Immelman will join Edinburgh's ranks next season. Image: ©Craig Watson

EDINBURGH have continued Scottish Rugby’s overseas recruitment drive with the signing of South African centre/wing/full-back Henry Immelman from Montpellier for a secret length of time.

The 25-year-old moved to Montpellier from Free State in 2016 and has since scored 13 tries in 75 appearances for the French club.

“I was really excited when I heard about Edinburgh being interested in me,” he said. “After five seasons in France, I was considering a new experience in another league, so it was a no brainer.


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“It’s an amazing club with a lot of history and, after speaking to Richard Cockerill [Edinburgh Head Coach], the vision was clear where they saw me fitting in and how I can contribute.

“The PRO14 – especially with the potential for the four new South African sides joining next season – will be a really great league to be part of and hopefully we’ll see Edinburgh do great things.

“I just want to get there, do my best, play rugby and experience a new home, a new competition and see what I can give back to Edinburgh.”

Edinburgh Rugby head coach Richard Cockerill said: “We’re delighted to announce Henry [Immelman] has signed for us despite a number of offers from elsewhere.

“He’s a very good player, a big physical ball carrier, with a big boot on him and will really intensify the competition for places in a number of areas in our squad next season.

“He’ll certainly add to our threat in the wide channels where we’ve already got some quality options and players coming through the system.

“We’re putting together a really exciting group for the new season, one which we hope our supporters can see taking shape and can visualise running out before a big crowd at the new stadium.”


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David Barnes
About David Barnes 2349 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

17 Comments

  1. tell you what dogma, why not do some research into how many academy players get promoted every year from Ireland, Wales and Scotland and give us some numbers rather than assertions. We do rather well in that respect, despite ToL ‘s previously embarrassing article on it

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    • Just had a quick look at the numbers of players promoted from the academies into senior squad for seasons 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 (so far).

      Total for Irish provinces – 61
      Total for Welsh regions – 38
      Total for Scottish pro teams – 8 (maybe 9 if you count Hamish Bain coming back from Stade Nicois)

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      • Great stats there David.

        I hadn’t realised it was that stark a margin. That’s terribly poor.

  2. Who are all these really good Scots players being ignored by Glasgow and Edinburgh, presumably they are attracting interest at least in the English Championship etc? Can’t think of any offhand.
    First ands foremost the teams have to be competitive, that means all season, hence the need for non Scottish Internationals to bolster the squad.

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    • Not sure how the English teams will have heard of any of the 95% of players that every year are told to they will never be looked at again from the age of 15. We have hundreds of potentially brilliant players that are never looked at again. Anyone who has spent anytime in grassroots youth rugby will see some astonishing talent left to rot every season, many of whom end up being lost to the game altogether. Meanwhile the tiny percentage who are anointed to the development system never have to worry about performances as long as they hit the numbers in the gym and have the ‘right’ attitude….ie don’t ever think for yourself just slavishly follow the coaches game plan. These guys then get a which when they face Welsh and Irish counterparts who are constantly competing for a place in development systems which are able to comfortably feed four pro sides because they have the strange concept of developing as many home grown players as possible. Our system is designed to cut as many players out of the loop as possible, meaning we squander the millions of pounds which should be bolstering our grassroots, on foreign journeymen

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      • Spent a huge amount of time coaching youth rugby, up to Academy selection, although not in Scotland. There are always “better” players than the ones that make it into Academies etc (or at least their Coaches think so) but so much of pro rugby is attitude whether you choose to denigrate it or not. The guys who have the attitude to get to the gym, put the work in, be resilient in the face of setbacks, and most importantly in this instance, be prepared to work harder and be better than the guy signed in their place, are the ones who will make it. Those who moan about another import getting their opportunities probably won’t. As for English teams not having heard of good players, I think you’d be surprised how widely they look when handing out pro contracts. They certainly wouldn’t miss a rich seam of talent on their doorset

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    • If we really cannot fill 2 professional teams with Scottish players and the occasional marquee signing (a pretty good description of Glasgow at their peak), whilst Ireland and Wales have 4 teams, then there is a real problem. Ross Thompson is a great example of a player blocked by a highly mediocre southern hemisphere player

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  3. This is not news.

    News will be when Edinburgh or Glasgow signs a Scotsman – the Murrayfield Junta are taking the piss.

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    • Just done the backs in this example (for 2021/2022 season, let me know if anything is wrong)
      SQ Vs NSQ players.
      This Includes Academy players.

      Total = 29
      SQ – 26 = 89.7%
      NSQ – 3 = 10.3%

      Charlie Shiel (SQ)
      Henry Pyrgos (SQ)
      Charlie Savala (SQ)
      Ruan Frostwick (SQ)
      Ben Vellacott (SQ)
      Jaco Van Der Valt (SQ)
      James Lang (SQ)
      Nathan Chamberlain (SQ)
      Alex Coombes (SQ)
      Blair Kinghorn (SQ)
      Chris Dean (SQ)
      Damian Hoyland (SQ)
      Dan Nutton (SQ)
      Darcy Graham (SQ)
      Eroni Sau (NSQ)
      George Taylor (SQ)
      Jack Blain (SQ)
      James Johnstone (SQ)
      Jamie Farndale (SQ)
      Jordan Venter (NSQ)
      Mark Bennett (SQ)
      Cameron Scott (SQ)
      Nathan Sweeney (SQ)
      Scott King (SQ)
      Matt Currie (SQ)
      Jacob Henry (SQ)
      Harry Paterson (SQ)
      Freddie Owsley (SQ)
      Henry Immelman (NSQ)

      I would say this is not taking the piss.

      The forwards i suspect will have a higher percentage of NSQ (I suspect) so questions could be asked there if someone can be bothered to do figure it out.

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      • Can you imagine if the Irish or Welsh only developed 15 or 16 homegrown pros a year…..there would be heads rolling all over the place. That’s why they have grand slams, pro 12/14 titles and Euro cups and we hark back to 1990. Until we stop being hypnotised by southern hemisphere accents, the concept of being ‘qualified’ to play for us and switch investment into a proper youth development programme we will continue to be second rate as a rugby nation.

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      • Dogma – obviously Wales and Ireland are going to produce way more homegrown players than Scotland because they have far greater numbers of youngsters playing rugby to begin with. Comparing us with them really is apples v oranges.

        If you compare the number of homegrown professional football players to those countries you’ll see that Scotland probably has many more, because this country is football-obsessed and there are more opportunities.

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      • @toby – I live and coach in Ireland. The reason they have way more is because the IRFU have pout huge resource into making it so.

        In Ireland we don’t just compete with football or soccer as its called here. We have Gaelic Association Hurling and Football to contend with. Not to mention Camogie on the girls side. That in itself accounts for a large amount of pressure.

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