Paddy Harrison: New contract for on-form Edinburgh hooker who began rugby life as a centre

Paddy Harrison has stepped off the bench to make vital try-scoring contributions in Edinburgh’s last two games and the hooker has now been rewarded with his first senior contract with the club.

Paddy Harrison has scored important tries for Edinburgh Rugby this season. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Paddy Harrison has scored important tries for Edinburgh Rugby this season. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

Harrison, 20, has signed a four-year deal after coming through the ranks with the capital side. The former Peebles player graduates from the club’s academy having enjoyed an encouraging start to the 2022-23 season. He bagged a try in the 25-17 away win over Cardiff in October then notched crucial scores in consecutive matches, against Glasgow Warriors and Zebre Parma.

While Edinburgh lost 32-25 to Glasgow at BT Murrayfield, Harrison’s try secured them a bonus point. He had an even more significant role to play last weekend when he scored the winning try in the last minute against Zebre in a nervy game at the DAM Health Stadium.

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“Paddy is a great guy to have around the club and I’ve been hugely impressed with his performances at senior level so far,” said Mike Blair, the Edinburgh head coach. “Paddy backs himself and his own abilities, and I think that really shows in the way he carries himself both on the pitch and in training week to week. He’s always looking to drive his game forward and look for improvements and feedback – he’s very self-driven to succeed.”

Paddy Harrison has signed a four-year deal with Edinburgh.

With frontline hookers Stuart McInally, Dave Cherry and Adam McBurney all nursing injuries in recent weeks, Harrison has been given more opportunities and responded impressively. He used to play centre as a youth and his quick feet were in evidence in the tries against Glasgow and Zebre.

The former Peebles High School pupil who started out playing mini-rugby at West Linton said: “I’m really excited to stay at the club I’ve wanted to play for since I was a boy. I feel like I’ve worked really hard over the last two and a half years to get to this point – so it really means a lot.

“It’s always been my goal to earn a professional contract with Edinburgh Rugby and the support of the coaching staff has been massive in helping me reach this point. They’ve backed me and trusted me in big matches which has really helped my development as a pro player. Now it’s time to get my head down and continue to work. I don’t want to take any backward steps. I can’t wait to continue to represent a club and city that means so much to me.”

Harrison made his professional debut at the age of 18 against Dragons at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff in March 2020. In doing so, he became the youngest hooker in the club’s history and the club’s fourth youngest debutant of all time. He made his first start for the club in the Guinness Pro14 Rainbow Cup clash against Ulster in June 2021 and his score in this season’s victory at Cardiff Arms Park was his first try.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh have announced that their former back Tom Brown will deliver the match ball ahead of their Heineken Challenge Cup match against Saracens a week on Sunday. Brown made over 100 appearances for the club between 2010 and 2019 and was capped by Scotland in the historic away win over Australia in 2012.

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