Hamish Watson gives Edinburgh Rugby huge boost by signing new contract
Hamish Watson has signed a new long-term contract with Edinburgh, giving the club and Scottish rugby in general a huge boost.
The flanker has been in outstanding form for club and country and was linked with a move to French side Racing 92.
But his decision to remain with Edinburgh provides a massive lift for the club who have had to announce the impending departure of two players to England in recent days, with star winger Duhan van der Merwe to join Worcester Warriors and forward Andrew Davidson moving to Gloucester at the end of the season.
Richard Cockerill, the Edinburgh coach, said Watson’s new contract was “a statement” of the club’s ambition.
The 29-year-old has made 116 appearances for the capital side since joining the academy at the age of 19 and has earned 36 caps for Scotland.
Sports statisticians Opta reported at the weekend that the forward had won 13 turnovers for Scotland during 2020, more than any other player in Test rugby in the last 12 months. He also made 117 out of 117 tackles - no one else made over 40 without missing at least one.
Watson said: “I have been at Edinburgh since I was 19, it really is home for me and my family. My two girls were born here and we’re so happy to be spending more of our lives here.
“I feel like we have both showed each other a great deal of loyalty. I love playing for Edinburgh. It means so much to me and, like I said last time round, I can’t see myself in another team’s jersey.
“I feel like the club has been, and is, heading in the right direction to win something over the next few years. That is what I believe this group of players is capable of and it would be great to do it for the club and the fans.
“All the players can’t wait to welcome all the fans back after Covid, to our new home. I personally can’t wait to see the fans again and continue this journey.”
Watson moved north from the Leicester Tigers academy for a Scotland 7s contract in the summer of 2011 the won a place on Edinburgh’s elite development programme and his club debut that year.
Cockerill said: “This is really fantastic news for Edinburgh and a great statement on our plans for this squad for the seasons ahead.
“We’re delighted he’s staying – any coach would be happy to have him – and will continue to bring his relentless approach to rugby every time he takes to the field.
“He’s an incredible, world class athlete and rugby player and shows incredible commitment every time he takes to the field for club or country, but he also has a very good rugby brain.
“He’s a very popular and senior member of our player group and it’s great to have him committed to the club for the foreseeable future.”
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