Edinburgh Rugby announce 17 players are to leave the club

Damien Hoyland is leaving after over 100 appearances for Edinburgh.  (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)Damien Hoyland is leaving after over 100 appearances for Edinburgh.  (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Damien Hoyland is leaving after over 100 appearances for Edinburgh. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Edinburgh Rugby’s overhaul of their squad for next season will see 13 senior players leave the club at the end of the current campaign.

Among those departing are the long-serving winger/full-back Damien Hoyland and fellow Scotland internationals Henry Pyrgos, Nick Haining and Jaco van der Walt. They are joined by no less than four props, with Lee-Roy Atalifo, Harrison Courtney, Jamie Jack and Nick Auterac all heading for the exit door. Also leaving are wing Jack Blain, centre Cammy Hutchison, lock Pierce Phillips, stand-off Bruce Houston and full-back Henry Immelman whose move to the Vodacom Bulls was confirmed earlier in the season. In addition, another four players from the Edinburgh Rugby Academy are to depart: Dan Gamble (prop), Rudi Brown (back-row), Matt Russell (stand-off) and Ben Evans (wing).

Hoyland’s departure stands out. The Edinburgh-born player is in his tenth season with the club and has made over 100 appearances but at 29 he is being released, less than a year after scoring a hat-trick for Scotland A against Chile. Pyrgos, 33, the experienced scrum-half, is also deemed surplus to requirements, just days after starting against Leicester Tigers in the Champions Cup.

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It’s a period of transition for the capital club whose coach, Mike Blair, announced in February that he would be stepping down at the end of the season. The search for his replacement is ongoing but in the meantime Steve Diamond, the former head coach of Saracens, Sale and Worcester, has joined as ‘lead rugby analyst’.

Experienced scrum-half Henry Pyrgos will be released by Edinburgh. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)Experienced scrum-half Henry Pyrgos will be released by Edinburgh. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Experienced scrum-half Henry Pyrgos will be released by Edinburgh. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

Blair, said: “This is never an easy time of the season. Every player has given their all to the jersey and we can’t thank them enough for their commitment and attitude when representing this club. Damien is a club centurion; a player who epitomises what it means to play for Edinburgh, while the likes of Jaco and Henry have both given so much to the club during their time in the capital.”

The player movement is not all one way, with Edinburgh announcing the signing this week of Harlequins scrum-half Scott Steele and Sale hooker Ewan Ashman. Both Scotland internationals will join the club next season along with the Munster stand-off Ben Healy.

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