Planet Rugby

Nine to leave Edinburgh

12th May 2014 11:51

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Lee Jones for Edinburgh

Leaving: Lee Jones

Edinburgh Rugby confirmed on Monday nine players will leave the club at the end of the season, as their contracts terminate.

Among the nine are capped internationalists Lee Jones (Scotland), centre Ben Atiga (All Blacks) and back-row Dimitri Basilaia (Georgia).

Jones earned the chance to sign for Edinburgh following a string of strong performances for Scotland 7s and home club Selkirk.

After his debut season (2010/11) he became a regular in the capital club's starting line-up, making 57 appearances and scoring crucial tries in both the PRO12 and Heineken Cup.

He earned his first of four full Scotland caps as the starting winger against England in the nation's opening match of the 2012 Six Nations and scored a memorable try against France in the following home game.

Atiga was one of Edinburgh most high profile signings of the 2012/13 season, and joined the club from Super 15 side Highlanders with a wealth of Super Rugby experience and provincial championship success.

He was both player and mentor to the club's youngsters, with his one try in 29 appearances a crucial contribution to the win over Gloucester in this season's Heineken Cup.

Basilaia arrived in the summer of 2012 from Valence d'Agen as an international ever-present for Georgia, having played a significant role in the much-praised physicality that underpinned the nation's Rugby World Cup in 2011.

Despite a bright start to his second campaign, a knee injury and international duty curtailed his attempts to impose himself on selection.

He plans to return to France and continue his rugby career alongside a number of his countrymen after 18 appearances for the club.

The balance of the players include scrum-halves Chris Leck and Alex Black; locks Perry Parker and Robert McAlpine; and front-row forwards Lewis Niven and Alun Walker.

Lock Perry Parker made 15 appearances since arriving form Esher in the summer of 2012 but surgery on an ongoing shoulder complaint kept him sidelined in his second season.

He made a try-scoring return to rugby for Melrose in January before joining Ospreys on loan to the end of the season.

Chris Leck joined Edinburgh from Sale Sharks in the summer of 2011 and battled Mike Blair and Greig Laidlaw at scrum-half, making 34 appearances in three seasons.

Unfortunately his 2013/14 campaign was ended prematurely by a shoulder injury, from which he continues to recover.

Tighthead prop Lewis Niven came through the ranks with Accies clubs Leith, Trinity and Edinburgh.

Another to benefit from the prestigious John Macphail Scholarship (2009), he was selected as part of the Scotland A squad in the 2010 IRB Nations and made his first of 27 Edinburgh appearances away to Cardiff Blues in January the following year.

An unfortunate sequence of injuries kept Niven from competing for a place in the Edinburgh squad for the past season and a half, and has led him to retire from playing professional rugby to start a roofing business with his brother.

Abrasive former age-grade internationalist, Alex Black, was a member of the Leeds Carnegie Academy before joining the club in 2011, he started one of his five appearances for the club.

A graduate of the club's elite development programme, hooker Alun Walker, represented Scotland at age-grade level before he progressed to the club's senior ranks.

With the competition exceptionally fierce in the position, he sought regular rugby with English Championship side Nottingham on a season-long loan after 16 appearances for the club.

Lock Robert McAlpine joined from Glasgow Warriors after the conclusion of the 2011 IRB Junior World Championships. He has made 10 appearances for the club.

"Everyone at Edinburgh 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," said head coach Alan Solomons.

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