Johnnie Beattie to join Gray and Evans at Castres

Castres-bound: Johnnie Beattie. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Castres-bound: Johnnie Beattie. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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SCOTLAND back row Johnnie Beattie has signed a three-year contract with Castres for next season which he hopes will keep him in peak form for international rugby.

The 28-year-old is coming to the end of a two-year contract at Montpellier, the club he joined from Glasgow, and although he captained the team in the Heineken Cup against Ulster on Friday night he had already informed Montpellier of his decision to turn down a new deal and move on. The club has moved swiftly to replace Beattie by signing Australia captain Ben Mowen on what is rumoured to be a deal worth more than £400,000 a year.

Beattie declined to comment, insisting that his focus remains firmly on Montpellier until the end of the season in June, but he did confirm that he had agreed a move. Castres’ Scottish duo Max Evans and Richie Gray are believed to have helped to encourage the back row forward. Beattie, who was married last year, has said previously that he enjoyed his move to Montpellier and likes both the French approach to the game and the lifestyle in the south of the country.

His future club let a lead slip against Leinster in the Heineken Cup yesterday – Gray having opened the scoring and with Evans continuing his recent fine form on the wing – which handed the stuttering Irish side a route into the quarter-finals.

Edinburgh and Glasgow both claimed wins on Saturday, over Perpignan and Exeter respectively, and have a chance of qualifying for the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals if they can finish the pool stages with wins away to Munster and at home to Toulon.

Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons confirmed that his Test centre Matt Scott, withdrawn before Saturday’s game with a hamstring tweak, was not a serious concern, but may not be risked this weekend with a view to being fit for the Six Nations.