Edinburgh Rugby release nine players

Lee Jones, left, and Ben Atiga are among the nine departures. Pictures: SNS
Lee Jones, left, and Ben Atiga are among the nine departures. Pictures: SNS
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EDINBURGH Rugby have confirmed that nine players will leave the club at the end of the season, when their current contracts are up.

Among those leaving are capped international trio Lee Jones, Ben Atiga and Dimitri Basilai, who featured for Scotland, New Zealand and Georgia respectively.

Scrum-half duo Chris Leck and Alex Black are also set to leave, with locks Perry Parker and Robert McAlpine; and front-row forwards Lewis Niven and Alun Walker completing the departing players.

Head coach Alan Solomons said: “Everyone at Edinburgh Rugby would like to thank all these players for their contribution to the club and wish them all the very best in the next stage of their careers.”

Jones signed for the capital side after impressive performances from Scotland 7s and his hometown club Selkirk, and became a regular in the starting line-up following his debut season in 2010/11, making 57 appearances and scoring vital tries in the RaboDirect PRO12 and the Heineken Cup.

Atiga joined in 2012/13, a high-profile signing from Super 15 side Highlanders and played the role of mentor to the club’s youngsters.

Basilaia joined in the summer of 2012 from Valence D’Agen, with a string of Georgia caps under his belt, but injury and international duty hampered his efforts to hold down a regular starting berth.

He is set to return to France once his contract is up.

Parker spent much of his season on the sidelines with a niggling shoulder injury, after joining from Esher in 2012. He joined Ospreys on loan to the end of the season, after making a try-scoring return with Melrose in January.

Chris Leck joined from Sale Sharks in 2011, but faced competition from Mike Blair and Greig Laidlaw at scrum-half, and found first-team opportunities limited. He made 34 appearances over three seasons, but saw his 2013/14 campaign curtailed by injury.

Tighthead prop Lewis Niven joined Edinburgh after spells with Accies clubs Leith, Trinity and Edinburgh, and was selected for Scotland A in the 2010 IRB Nations, but was dogged by injuries and has had to retire from professional rugby as a result.

Alex Black joined in 2011 from Leeds Carnegie Academy, and made just five appearances while hooker Alun Walker represented Scotland at age-grade level before joining the club’s senior ranks.

He joined Nottingham on a season-long loan to gain regular playing time after 16 appearances for Edinburgh.

McAlpine joined from Glasgow Warriors following the conclusion of the 2011 IRB Junior World Championships, turning out 10 times for the club.