Jim Hamilton out but Esteban Lozada in at Edinburgh

EDINBURGH have confirmed that Jim Hamilton has left the club and signed a two-year contract with Gloucester, but are delighted to have secured Argentine international Esteban Lozada to fill the sizeable gap left by the Scotland lock.

• Jim Hamilton. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The Scotsman revealed Edinburgh's interest in Lozada three weeks ago and discovered earlier this month that he had agreed to join the club from high-flying French club Toulon, with Hamilton confirming that he was looking for a move elsewhere. French media stated that Stade Francais had signed Hamilton on Tuesday, but though declining to be interviewed while in Argentina with Scotland, Hamilton confirmed that he was not going to Stade.

Bryan Redpath, the Gloucester coach and former Scotland captain, had been keen to persuade Hamilton to join him at Kingsholm, but with very tight finances at one of many clubs where budgets have been restricted he had to sweat before concluding the deal with Hamilton's agent this week.

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Redpath explained: "Jim had other options and some very lucrative ones in France, but thankfully he sees coming to Gloucester as the right rugby decision and didn't think of the financial aspect, which is pleasing for me because it's hard to compete now with France financially.

"I'm delighted that Jim has decided to come. He is an ex-Leicester player, played most of his life there, and has played here for Leicester, and he wants that club atmosphere again. That's one thing Gloucester does have – great support when you play at Kingsholm.

He has enjoyed his time in Edinburgh and feels it's now for him to come back and push himself in the Premiership. For me, it's more about the character than just the player. Jim was brought up to be a strong character with a strong work ethic and I want that to come through and support what Gloucester is. He is a big man with an angry edge to him which is important because you need to have a little niggle."

Hamilton insisted there was little about Edinburgh that had made him want to leave with still a year left on his contract, but hinted that he was keen to have a contract in place that took him beyond the 2011 World Cup. That suggests that Edinburgh were perhaps not prepared to match his salary expectations for that new deal, Hamilton already being one of the highest paid rugby players in Scotland.

Hamilton said: "Edinburgh have some world-class talent and Edinburgh, in my view, is the best city in the world to live in. The supporters are so loyal, friendly and welcoming and that's something I've really enjoyed and something for which I want to say a big thank you.

"With the World Cup coming up and the competition for a second-row place in the Scotland team intensifying all the time I just felt that it was the right time for me to set off on a new challenge. I'm looking forward to joining Gloucester, they're a big team with a lot of history, but I wish the boys all the best."

While Redpath is trying to put his own imprint on Gloucester, his former coach Rob Moffat is doing something similar at Edinburgh and the coach does not appear too disappointed to be losing Hamilton. The player struggled with injuries this season and when he did play struggled to hit top form, playing in very few victories.

Moffat is rebuilding his squad with a hard core of young Scots with strong work traits. Roddy Grant is the latest talent to re-sign, to 2013, and he will be hoping that Lozada, a big, experienced, hard-working but mobile forward, can wield a greater influence through next season's Magners League and Heineken Cup campaigns than did Hamilton alongside Scott MacLeod, Craig Hamilton and Steve Turnbull.

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Moffat said: "These are exciting times for Edinburgh. When Jim Hamilton told us he wished to leave the club to take up a new challenge we set about finding a suitable high-calibre replacement. I believe we have found such a man in Esteban Lozada. He's a big, physical player, 6ft 5ins and 17 stone, the sort of experienced, seasoned international lock who can really help us win the go-forward battle, but who wants to play for us too because he sees it as an opportunity for him to get better.

"It's also brilliant that we have agreed an extended contract with Roddy, who is a class rugby player and whose appetite to improve seems to have no limits. We wish Jim well at Gloucester and thank him for his dedication and commitment to Edinburgh."