Glasgow Warriors have confirmed the worst-kept secret in Scottish rugby by revealing that Scotland centre Huw Jones has signed a two-year deal to join the Scotstoun club.
Edinburgh-born Jones is currently with the Stormers Super Rugby franchise in Cape Town and will join Glasgow on the completion of the South African season which ends with the Currie Cup competition in August.
Presently involved with Scotland’s RBS Six Nations campaign, Jones won his fourth cap in the 27-22 victory over Ireland at the weekend.
It’s been rumoured that a deal was imminent for some time with Jones receptive to playing in Scotland and the international management group keen to bring him into the fold.
He made his Scotland debut against Japan on tour last summer and scored two tries during a Man of the Match performance in his home debut against Australia at BT Murrayfield in November.
Capable of playing at centre, full-back or on the wing, the 23-year-old is committed to the Stormers and Western Province for their respective 2017 Super Rugby and Currie Cup campaigns and will join up with Glasgow at the end of the summer.
“It felt like the time was right to join Glasgow, having enjoyed my time in Cape Town playing Super Rugby,” he said. “Obviously playing for Scotland, it makes a lot of sense to be playing in Scotland and I was ready to make the move.
“Glasgow are doing very well this year and look like they could continue to do well over the next couple of years and the chance to be part of a successful club was a big factor when I was making my decision.”
Playing under Dave Rennie and Jason O’Halloran, the new Warriors coaching team for next season, was also an attraction.
“I really like working with Jason as a coach, we work well together at Scotland and obviously he has worked with Dave Rennie before,” continued Jones. “I’ve never worked with Dave but he’s been really successful with the Chiefs, so I’m really looking forward to working with world class coaches.
“I get on well with all the Glasgow boys having got to know them in Scotland camp and I spoke to them about the club and the city and they all had really good things to say.”
Current Glasgow Warriors – and future Scotland – head coach Gregor Townsend said: “It’s great news that a player of Huw’s ability and versatility will be joining the club next season.
“We first made contact with Huw three years ago when he was playing Varsity Cup rugby in Cape Town and it’s been great to see how much he has developed at both Currie Cup and Super Rugby level.
“He also played very well for Scotland during the Autumn Tests and I’m sure he will fit in very well at Scotstoun next season.”
The Jones signing and the contract extension to Alex Dunbar last week makes it more likely that another Scotland international Mark Bennett will leave Scotstoun, with reports suggesting that he may go along the M8 to Edinburgh.
There’s also rumours in the French press that ousted Leicester coach Richard Cockerill is being courted by Scottish Rugby to take over as head coach at Edinburgh.
Duncan Hodge has been operating as acting head coach since Alan Solomons left but Midi-Olympique, the weekly rugby newspaper in France, suggests that Cockerill may come to the capital after his current temporary posting at Toulon is over.