Hamish Watson and Ben Toolis sign new Edinburgh deals

Forward duo extend their stay at the home of Scottish rugby after establishing themselves as part of the first team

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Flanker Hamish Watson believes there are exciting times ahead for Edinburgh Jason O'Callaghan

Edinburgh forwards Hamish Watson and Ben Toolis have given the Guinness PRO12 club a boost by agreeing new deals.

Manchester-born flanker Watson joined the BT Murrayfield club in 2011 as an academy player before becoming a full-time professional, making 24 appearances for the club.

It’s great to know, so early, that I’ll be with the club for the next two seasons…as a team, we want to push into that top six in the league. These are really exciting times, going forward.

Hamish Watson

The 23-year-old former Leicester Tigers Academy product, who qualifies for Scotland through his grandparents, moved to Scotland in 2011 on a Scotland 7s contract and has represented Scotland at age-grade level, including at the 2011 Junior World Championship in Italy in the same 26-man squad as Glasgow Warriors trio Stuart Hogg, Duncan Weir and Mark Bennett.

Watson was invited to train with Vern Cotter’s Scotland squad prior to November’s viagogo Autumn Tests, but a broken jaw sustained while playing for Edinburgh in the European Challenge Cup against Lyon in October restricted his involvement, but he made his comeback in the Gunners’ 20-8 PRO12 win over rivals Glasgow at BT Murrayfield last Friday, and has agreed a new two-year deal from June 2015.

“It’s great to know, so early, that I’ll be with the club for the next two seasons,” Watson said.

“Last season, my opportunities were a bit limited then I started the first game after the summer and got into a good run.

“The highlights for me this season have been that first game beating Munster away, the win in France over Bordeaux-Begles and the last five minutes when I came off the bench in the 1872 Cup win last Friday.

“That gives us great momentum going to Connacht this weekend and, as a team, we want to push into that top six in the league.

“These are really exciting times, going forward.”

Giant lock Toolis joined the club with his twin brother Alex from Queensland’s GPS Old Boys in August 2013 as an academy player, before graduating to a professional contract in 2014, and the 22-year-old has now agreed a new one-year deal which begins in June 2015.

Getting the full 80 minutes in both games against Glasgow to win the 1872 Cup, sharing that experience with the boys was really special. Last Friday’s match was definitely the biggest game of my career so far.

Ben Toolis

With Edinburgh vice-captain Grant Gilchrist breaking his arm in October, the Brisbane-born forward has become an integral part of Alan Solomons’ side alongside fellow lock Anton Bresler, starting 10 of his 14 appearances for the club in all competitions.

The former Australian junior volleyball international, who qualifies for Scotland through his Lanarkshire-born mother, believes that signing a new contract with the club is the right decision for his career development.

“Obviously things have happened a bit sooner than I expected and I’m really happy, it’s the right decision for me,” Toolis said.

“Now I’m getting game time, Edinburgh are on the rise and I want to be part of it.

“Getting the full 80 minutes in both games against Glasgow to win the 1872 Cup, sharing that experience with the boys was really special.

“Last Friday’s match was definitely the biggest game of my career so far.”

Edinburgh also confirmed today that winger Nikki Walker has left the club to concentrate on his coaching duties with Hawick RFC.

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