WP NEL is set to stay for at least another season with Edinburgh after agreeing a contract extension. The tighthead prop, who will turn 35 in April, moved to the capital from his native South Africa in 2012. Edinburgh’s announcement of Nel’s new contract made no mention of its length, but it will ensure that the player at least completes a full decade as part of the squad.
“Edinburgh is such a special place and club for me,” said Nel, who was first capped by Scotland in 2015 after qualifying on residence and now has 42 caps. “My family and I are well settled in this beautiful city we now call home.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I would still be here after all these years and still playing at 34. But I can’t complain about the way I’m playing at the moment. It’s still a huge honour to be selected for both Edinburgh and Scotland. To reach 150 games for the club earlier this season was really special for me.”
Nel said earlier this year that he would like to move into coaching, and a gradual transition into that role appears to be something that Edinburgh, as well as the player himself, have in mind. “Coaching is something I would like to explore further in this next two years,” he added.
“I already like to work with the younger players at the club. I feel like I can help them improve as players and hopefully I can help them go and represent Scotland. We have a lot of exciting and young forwards at the club and there are exciting times ahead with our new stadium.”
Nel’s experience will be all the more necessary at Edinburgh next season, as Simon Berghan is moving to Glasgow. “WP is a club legend and we’re delighted he’ll pull on the jersey for his tenth season at Edinburgh Rugby,” head coach Richard Cockerill said. “He continues to be a pivotal member of the squad and you only had to see his performance at Parc y Scarlets earlier this season, or from the bench against Wales on Saturday, to see that he’s still a special player.
“WP has played a lot of games for this club and his contributions throughout a near-decade of rugby in Edinburgh should be recognised and celebrated. He is and will continue to be a real role model for the next generation of Edinburgh Rugby props.”
Fantastic servant to both Edinburgh and Scotland, one of the few residency-born players i am proud to say plays for us.