Edinburgh’s long-rumoured pursuit of Bath’s New Zealand-born centre Robbie Fruean ended in success with the 28-year-old signing on a two-year deal.
Fruean is a former World Under-19 player of the year and played for three of New Zealand’s Super Rugby franchises, including two stints with the Crusaders where he was Sonny Bill Williams’ regular centre partner.
Latterly he joined Bath at the behest of Todd Blackadder, his former coach at Crusaders, and scored three tries in six appearances last season while on a short-term contract.
Fruean was one of New Zealand’s top prospects as a teenager but had to battle back from serious illness which involved open heart surgery after he contracted life-threatening rheumatic fever.
He resumed his professional career without incident but had been playing ITM Cup rugby in New Zealand with Hawke’s Bay when Blackadder brought him to Bath last October.
Edinburgh had been following his progress with some interest and got their man confirmed yesterday.
“The vision Edinburgh and the new coaching staff have for the club’s future success is something I’m really excited about and I am hoping I can add value to the team on and off the field,” he said.
“Having been to the city, it is a beautiful place and my family and I are really looking forward to calling Edinburgh our new home”
Fruean can play 12 or 13 and on the wing, and offers ball-playing and finishing from all three positions. He will offer a different option in midfield for the capital side’s new head coach Richard Cockerill.
“Robbie joins the club with a huge amount of experience. He’s renowned for his power and is a big attacking threat,” said Cockerill.
“During his time in Super Rugby, he has played alongside some of the game’s modern greats and we look forward to him bringing that knowledge to the club both on and off the field.”