WP Nel signs on for one more year at Edinburgh

Veteran tighthead has agreed what is expected be his last contract extension before he retires

WP Nel. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
WP Nel is set to play one more season with Edinburgh. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

WP NEL has agreed a one-year contract extension with Edinburgh – expected to be his last before he retires from playing.

The tighthead prop, who turns 37 at the end of this month, has been with Edinburgh since moving from his native South Africa in 2012, and made his Scotland debut in 2015 once he had qualified via a three-year residence. He is now closing in on the 200-appearances landmark with his club and has won 54 caps for his adoptive country.

“Next year will probably be my last in professional rugby,” Nel said in a press release from Edinburgh. “If I can bring success to the team while providing leadership and advice to the younger props in the squad, then I can’t think of a better way to go out.

“Rugby has given me so much in life. I might be one of the older guys but I’m still hugely competitive and know I can be one of the best in my position on any given day. It will be an honour to pull on the Edinburgh jersey for another season.

“I’m really happy to have signed a new deal with Edinburgh Rugby. It’s a club that means so much to me and the city is home for me and my family. We love it here and plan to continue life here after rugby.”

Nel made his Test debut against Italy in one of the warm-up games before the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He went on to play in all of Scotland’s games in that tournament, and emulated that achievement at the 2019 World Cup.

After being the national team’s first-choice tighthead for a number of years, he is now used more sparingly, and his primary role now is as back-up to Glasgow’s Zander Fagerson. Nonetheless, he remains an important member of Gregor Townsend’s squad, and seems sure to be selected for this autumn’s World Cup in France.

“My body still feels great, which was a massive factor in signing a new deal,” Nel added. “I still feel like I can make an impact at the top level, so I want to do continue doing that for another season with a club that has backed me for over a decade of my career.”

Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair said: “WP is a true Edinburgh legend and someone that inspires the players around him because of his commitment to representing the club and tenacity to be the best in his position.

“He’s a different beast and that’s shown in his performances for both Edinburgh and Scotland throughout his career and again this season, where his energy levels and eagerness to make an impact have been through the roof.

“We’re truly delighted WP has chosen to sign a one-year extension with the club. He epitomises what it means to be an Edinburgh man and there’s no doubt he’ll be champing at the bit when the 23/24 season comes around.”

About Stuart Bathgate 1394 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.


  1. Great guy and player, let’s hope his last season is Edinburgh on the up, rather than this disappointing one …..

  2. WP Nell, you are/still a brilliant player and an example to all, especially to those youngsters looking on.
    Thank you for your commitment to Edinburgh & Scottish rugby.

  3. Unlike some who “retired” recently, definitely not a prima donna. In the early vanguard of recent times foreign recruits, a committed team player who gave his heart and soul to the team and his adopted country. As stated, a potential ideal mentor/coach for up and coming Scottish props.

    • Absolutely agree Fraser. The likes of Hogg and Wilson are more concerned by their social media and their ego.

    • While I’m fundamentally opposed to project players, Nel is the best example of a success story. Over a decade of service. Unlike many others who ticked the boxes then jogged off to the English prem.

      And, to your point about the recent retirees – that the club captain of Warriors has been permitted to host a podcast in which he throws around personal opinions about other players and teams – all while still a paid player – is an embarrassment to the running of the club. To be allowed to run down a professional contract at the same time as feathering his own nest smacks of boys club governance.

  4. An incredible player – how many players even props can still play at 38 – with his dedication and attitude I hope he can get a start on the coaching ladder. He would be wonderful with the youngsters!

  5. Nel still a world class prop, Edinburgh and Scotland are the better for him being around

  6. The term legend gets thrown around alot e.g. ryan wilson’s article yesterday but WP truly is. Selfless, hard working and without an ego. Delighted he has signed on and can provide invaluable experience to younger props. Would love to see Murray Mccallum given more game time at Edinburgh.


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