Edinburgh have signed two Australians – one an experienced former Super Rugby title winner – to bolster their midfield for next season when they are hit by international call-ups.
Jono Lance, a 29-year-old stand-off who won the Southern Hemisphere title when with the Queensland Reds and the NSW Waratahs, has joined Edinburgh from Worcester Warriors.
Also coming north is 25-year-old centre Matt Gordon, another Australian who has been recruited from London Scottish.
Both players are non-Scottish qualified, providing cover during international windows, and are straight replacements for Simon Hickey and Matt Scott, whose departures from the capital club were confirmed earlier this week.
Edinburgh are still thought to be courting Bristol’s Scotland Under-20 stand-off Nathan Chamberlain, but Lance – who can also play full-back – will slot in at 10 if Jaco Van der Walt is called up for Scotland once he qualifies through residency in the autumn.
Lance played for the Reds, the Waratahs and the Western Force in Super Rugby, winning titles when in Brisbane and Sydney. He moved to Worcester in 2017 and has made 30 appearances for the Warriors, scoring 82 points.
“To get the chance to come to a club that has become one of the strongest in the Guinness PRO14 and to hopefully play Champions Cup rugby was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse,” he said.
“The style of rugby Edinburgh have been playing is something that excites me and to have coaches who feel that you can be a big part of developing that brand of rugby was something I wanted to be a massive part of.
“After chatting to some players and meeting the coaches to hear their vision for the club in the near future and long term, it’s clear that there are exciting times ahead for Edinburgh Rugby.”
Gordon, a bustling inside centre with pace and power, joined Scottish from Australian provincial rugby last year and scored four tries in 15 appearances at the Athletic Ground.
From rural Queensland, Gordon moved up to Brisbane City and Easts in provinicial club rugby before coming to London Scottish at the start of last season.
Edinburgh head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: “Jono is a very experienced playmaker that fits the mould of both the type of rugby player and person that we want at this club.
“He’s a good character that works hard for his teammates and we believe that his skillset is well suited to the style of rugby we want to implement at Edinburgh.
“Matt has been very impressive during his time with London Scottish so we’re excited to bring him on board.
“He’s clearly a powerful man that runs very hard and direct – he’ll definitely add some grunt and strength to our midfield.
“We’ve already got a good group of centres here at the club, but we certainly think that Matt’s skillset adds a different dynamic and we’re excited to watch him develop.”
Gordon said: “I was hugely impressed by the facilities as well as their aspirations and ambitions as a club. They consistently want to be competing at the top end of the game and that’s where every professional player wants to be.
“Richard Cockerill was clear in what he expects from his players and I like that. I’m looking forward to getting started and bring something different to the squad.”