EDINBURGH RUGBY: YOUNG SCOTS DUO EXTEND CAPITAL TERM
Edinburgh Rugby are delighted to have extended the contracts of promising young forwards Hamish Watson (back-row) and George Turner (hooker) until 2014.
The former Scotland age-grade internationalists will continue to work closely with the club as part of the national elite development player (EDP) programme with the view to securing full-time deals in the coming years.
Forwards coach, Stevie Scott, said: “Hamish and George are two young, and up-and-coming players in specialist positions of open-side flanker and hooker, with quality international experience at the club to help them develop.
“What we need to see is a continuation of their hard work and then for them to challenge the others in their position for a place in the team – this is particularly true of Hamish who had a good run of games at the end of the season.
“Both have shown that they have lots of potential but they still have a lot of hard work to do, and can look to the example of recent EDP graduates, like Matt Scott and Grant Gilchrist, who have gone on to become regulars for Edinburgh Rugby and win full international honours.”
Scottish exile, Watson, moved north from the Leicester Tigers Academy in the summer of 2011 for a central Scotland 7s contract, before being approached to join the club’s development programme.
While helping Edinburgh Accies to a fourth-place finish in the RBS Premiership, injuries to fellow specialist open-sides Ross Rennie (shoulder) and Roddy Grant (wrist) opened the door for the 21-year-old, who has shown an impressive work-rate and turn of pace in his 14 appearances for the club.
He said: “While we wanted more from our season as a club, I feel that the season past went quite well for me personally.
“I’ve met the targets I set at the start of the season in terms of game time, which is the best way to develop, and that’s helped me develop as a player. Hopefully with this new deal I can build on that now.
“I’m really excited to sign for another year. Back at the start of the season I knew I wanted to stay because there’s so much potential here, with all the established internationals and really talented young players breaking into the squad.
“If we get it right I think we can have a great year and hopefully I’ll play well enough to be a part of it and earn the chance to stay in Edinburgh a lot longer.”
Born and raised in the city, hooker George Turner (20) also joined the club in the summer of 2011, after earning a place on the Macphail scholarship to New Zealand with fellow players Grant Gilchrist and Harry Leonard.
He’s represented Edinburgh throughout the age-grades, earning selection for last year’s U20 6 Nations and Junior World Championship in South Africa.
A hip injury has disrupted his efforts to challenge for a place in the senior squad however supporters were given a glimpse of his destructive ball carrying at the Gala 7s earlier this year, with much expected of the fledgling front-rower.
He said: “I’ve had good feedback from the coaches and really happy that the club wanted me to stay, with the goal to getting fully fit for the start of the season.
“It’s been a frustrating year. I only played three games of rugby in the RBS Premiership last season, so I’m keen need to get fit, get on the field and push for a place in the Edinburgh Rugby squad.”
Competition for the number two shirt has scarcely become more fierce, with British & Irish Lion Ross Ford, Steven Lawrie – recently capped in Scotland’s summer tour party – newly signed Tongan internationalist, Aleki Lutui, and fellow youngster Alun Walker all vying for selection.
However, rather than see his club mates as a barrier, Turner explained his plans to use use their experience to his advantage, starting with a switch to play for Heriot’s, where clubmate Lawrie is the forwards coach.
He added: “It is a bit daunting when you look at the calibre of hookers at the club but that’s the challenge.
“They’re always very supportive and give me advice and tips. These are the guys I look up to but also who I want to put pressure on for a place in the team.”
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