Edinburgh Rugby have confirmed the departure of former Scotland captain John Barclay, Matt Scott and seven other squad members at the end of the 2019-20 season – whenever that may be.
The announcement from Leicester Tigers that Scott, the former Scotland centre who stayed two years in his second spell at Edinburgh, had joined them was confirmed by the capital club as was Barclay’s departure, which had been highlighted by head coach Richard Cockerill last week.
Both players returned to Scotland two years ago after lengthy spells at Scarlets in Barclay’s case and Gloucester for Scott, but both players’ time with Edinburgh were blighted by injury.
Barclay missed a large portion of his first season after suffering a serious Achilles injury in his final game for Scarlets – a Guinness PRO14 semi-final against another of his former clubs Glasgow at Scotstoun – and while he returned to play a part in Edinburgh’s late season and go to Japan with Scotland for the World Cup, he has played just 14 times over the two years for the club.
Barclay retired from international rugby in December but has indicated his intention to keep playing.
Scott came up with Edinburgh and after joining Gloucester for three years returned to the club in 2018, with a view to forcing a place in the World Cup squad for Japan.
However a lengthy absence due to persistent concussion symptoms truncated his first season with Edinburgh, and although more involved this season, playing a total of 20 games for the club, the emergence of young centre George Taylor means his loss is one Cockerill can bear.
“This period of the season is never easy for players – even more so in these unusual times – but all those moving on with our upmost respect for their hard work and commitment during their time at Edinburgh,” said head coach Cockerill.
“These guys have given their all to the club and that’s all we can ever ask. It’s been a pleasure to coach them and we thank them for their professionalism and attitude.
“We wish all our leavers the best of luck in their future ambitions.”
Among the other players departing Edinburgh is Dougie Fife, the Scotland cap who previously left the club in 2017 and played for Scotland Sevens before Cockerill recruited him back for three years. Fife played 125 games at wing and full-back for the club but his opportunities have been limited with the rise of Blair Kinghorn and Darcy Graham.
Italian international prop Pietro Ceccarelli has joined Brive in France’s Top 14 for next season. The tight head played 24 times in his two years with Edinburgh.
As expected, New Zealander stand-off Simon Hickey is leaving after two years. Cockerill has rotated the former Begles-Bordeaux 10 with Jaco van der Walt over the two years, generally preferring the South African for bigger games. Hickey was allowed to leave for New Zealand at the start of the coronavirus lockdown for family reasons.
Former Howe of Fife hooker Cameron Fenton is another leaving Edinburgh after three years. Fenton, one of a number of players who developed at Duffus Park and Strathallan School, made 19 appearances during his time with the club.
Other leaving include two second row players recruited as cover in Sam Thomson, a Scot recruited from club rugby in Australia, and Stan South, who made only one appearance on loan from Exeter Chiefs.
Stand-off Jason Baggott is another who departs at the end of his current deal, with the South African’s sole appearance for the club coming against Munster in November 2018.