Edinburgh Rugby confirm 22/23 leavers
Edinburgh Ruby today confirmed its leavers for the 2022/23 season as 13 senior players depart the club at the end of the current campaign.
Damien Hoyland (wing), Jaco van der Walt (stand-off), Henry Pyrgos (scrum-half), Nick Haining (back-row), Jack Blain (wing) and Cammy Hutchison (centre) all move on, joining Henry Immelman (full-back) whose move to the Vodacom Bulls was confirmed earlier this season.
They are joined by Lee-Roy Atalifo (prop), Pierce Phillips (lock), Harrison Courtney (prop), Jamie Jack (prop), Nick Auterac (prop) and Bruce Houston (stand-off), all of whom will leave the club at the end of the season.
Elsewhere, four players depart the Edinburgh Rugby Academy as Dan Gamble (prop), Rudi Brown (back-row), Matt Russell (stand-off) and Ben Evans (wing) all move on.
This group of academy players are being actively supported by Edinburgh Rugby to find new clubs, with playing opportunities progressing but not yet finalised.
Head Coach Mike 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 [Hoyland] is a club centurion; a player who epitomises what it means to play for Edinburgh, while the likes of Jaco [van der Walt] and Henry [Pyrgos] have both given so much to the club during their time in the capital.
“Those guys are just to name a few. Every player departing has worn the jersey with pride and that’s all we can ever ask. It’s been an absolute pleasure coaching them.
“Every player moving on has created their own piece of unique history with Edinburgh Rugby. We wish them all the best in their next endeavour.”
2022/23 Edinburgh Rugby leavers
Damien Hoyland | Edinburgh Rugby #1206 | 104 appearances
Edinburgh born and bred, Hoyland joined his hometown club from Melrose in 2014, making his debut against Ospreys at Myreside in February 2015.
The explosive winger burst onto the scene in 2015/16, scoring eight tries in 17 appearances, catapulting Hoyland onto the international stage as he made his first of five Scotland appearances away to Italy in the summer of 2015.
Hoyland’s resolve in fighting back from several long-term injuries has been exemplary and the winger was rewarded for his resilience when he made his 100th appearance for the club against Saracens this season, becoming Edinburgh Rugby’s 38th centurion.
Hoyland will be hoping to add to his 104 appearances for the club before the season end.
Jaco van der Walt | Edinburgh Rugby #1239 | 96 appearances
Van der Walt joined Edinburgh Rugby from Emirates Lions in November 2017 and immediately showcased grit and desire in the number 10 jersey, swapping the heat of Johannesburg for the Scottish winter.
He would soon become a fan-favourite, scoring his first try for the club in the Challenge Cup victory against Stade Francais in December 2017, before enjoying a breakout season in 2018/19, picking up the PRO14 Golden Boot that same campaign.
That form led to a Scotland Test debut against Ireland in December 2020, the first of four caps for his adopted country.
Henry Pyrgos | Edinburgh Rugby #1247 | 82 appearances
Experienced scrum-half Pyrgos signed for Edinburgh in the summer of 2018, having spent eight-years with Glasgow Warriors.
An astute game manager and leader with excellent vision in attack, Pyrgos made 24 appearances in his debut season in the capital, scoring his first try for the club in the Heineken Champions Cup over RC Toulon in October 2018.
Pyrgos made his 82nd appearance for the club in the recent Heineken Champions Cup clash against Leicester Tigers.
Nick Haining | Edinburgh Rugby #1266 | 36 appearances
A player that never fails to give his all when called upon, Nick Haining joined Edinburgh Rugby from Bristol Bears ahead of the 2019/20 season following two years at Ashton Gate.
An explosive ball carrier – who qualified for Scotland through his Dundee-born grandmother – Haining made his Scotland debut against Ireland in February 2020, with Gregor Townsend handing the back-row a start in Round 1 of the Six Nations Championship.
Haining has worked his way back from a run of injuries in recent months to make an impact this current campaign, featuring in 12 matches, including January’s dramatic home victory against Saracens in the Heineken Champions Cup.
Jack Blain | Edinburgh Rugby #1263 | 26 appearances
When Jack Blain started Edinburgh Rugby’s 2018/19 pre-season friendly against Bath, he became the first player to represent the club born after the turn of the millennium, aged 18.
It wasn’t long before the Scotland age-grade stand-out made his professional debut, starting in a then-Guinness PRO14 match against Benetton Rugby in March 2019.
Blain enjoyed a spell in Edinburgh’s starting XV to start the 2020/21 season, making his first home start against Connacht in October 2020, before grabbing a brace of tries – his first for the club – in the home defeat to Ulster in November 2020.
He has made six appearances so far this season, crossing the whitewash in January’s home victory against Zebre Parma.
Cammy Hutchison | Edinburgh Rugby #1295 | 19 appearances
A product of North Berwick High School, Hutchison made a try-scoring debut for the club in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup clash against Ulster in June 2021.
A hard-running centre who has developed softer skills, Hutchison captained Scotland at U19 level, while he featured prominently in an impressive Scotland U20 side during the 2016/17 season.
The centre has featured in six games so far this season, grabbing a decisive try in January’s Heineken Champions Cup victory away to Castres Olympique.
Henry Immelman | Edinburgh Rugby #1301 | 25 appearances
Powerful back-three star Immelman joined Edinburgh Rugby from Top 14 side Montpellier ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
The South African made his Edinburgh Rugby debut against Scarlets in Round 1 of the 2021/22 United Rugby Championship. He then grabbed his first score for the club in the 14-17 URC win over Vodacom Bulls in October 2021, before notching up a brace and earning player of the match in a thumping 56-8 win against Connacht that same campaign.
Immelman will make the move to BKT URC rivals Vodacom Bulls following the conclusion of the 2022/23 season.
Lee-Roy Atalifo | Edinburgh Rugby #1282 | 33 appearances
Fijian international prop Lee-Roy Atalifo joined Edinburgh Rugby during the 2020/21 season from English Championship side Jersey Reds.
Atalifo made a try-scoring debut for the club against Cardiff Rugby at BT Murrayfield in September 2020 and featured in 13 total matches during his debut campaign in the capital.
The Fijian was at his consistent best in 2021/22, making 19 appearances for club and country across all competitions.
Pierce Phillips | Edinburgh Rugby #1302 | 14 appearances
English second-row Pierce Phillips arrived at the club from French Top 14 side Agen ahead of the 2021/22 season.
Phillips made his Edinburgh Rugby debut from the bench against Benetton in Treviso in October 2021 and featured in 12 matches in his debut season in the capital.
The lock has so far crossed the whitewash on one occasion, grabbing a score in the 54-5 rout of Pau in the Challenge Cup.
Harrison Courtney | Edinburgh Rugby #1307 | 9 appearances
Loosehead prop Courtney joined the club on a partnership deal with FOSROC Super6 side Watsonians in the summer of 2021 and made his debut from the bench in the away victory against Dragons RFC that November.
Courtney made his first start for the capital club in the 2021/22 away clash against Glasgow Warriors and has made nine appearances for Edinburgh Rugby to date.
Jamie Jack | Edinburgh Rugby #1318 | 3 appearances
Jack joined Edinburgh Rugby from English Championship side Ampthill towards the end of the 2021/22 campaign.
The loosehead prop made his Edinburgh Rugby debut in November’s away clash against Benetton Rugby at Stadio Monigo.
Nick Auterac | Edinburgh Rugby #1316 | 4 appearances
Former Saracens, Bath, Harlequins and Northampton Saints prop Auterac joined Edinburgh Rugby ahead of the 2022/23 season.
The prop made his debut from the bench against Zebre Parma in October 2022, winning two scrum penalties when he took to the field at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, his first of four appearances for the club.
Stand-off Bruce Houston joined Edinburgh Rugby on a partnership deal with FOSROC Super6 side Heriot’s Rugby in 2022, having impressed at the Goldenacre club.
Born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, the Scots qualified playmaker made his professional debut with boyhood club Ulster, before making the move to Heriot’s Rugby in 2021.