Edinburgh Rugby today thanked one of the side’s longest standing stalwarts, Simon Webster, who has left the club by mutual consent.
Here on the site we nicknamed him Malkovich for resembling Con-Air era John Malkovich in both facial features and the level of crazy displayed in his play, but he had been absent from playing duties (and our screens) for two seasons with an Achilles injury. The 37-times capped Scotland wing returned to full fitness in September but has been unable to dislodge the prolific Tim Visser and new Scotland internationalist Lee Jones who had stepped up during his time out (Simon’s that is, not the period in which Lee was unconscious).
The 31-year-old, whose contract was due to expire at the end of the season, has left the club in order to pursue new challenges. He said: “I’d like to thank everyone at Edinburgh Rugby for their support over the past ten years. I’ve had a fantastic time playing for the club and representing Scotland on the world stage; experiences I will never forget.
“It’s been a tough year for me having finally got myself fit but unable to secure first team action and I felt that the timing was right for me to leave the club and seek out new playing opportunities.
“Rugby has been a huge part of my life for more than 25 years and I still love the game as much as I did when I first picked up a ball. This extra time allows me to take stock of the great experiences I’ve had and look ahead to the next chapter in my life.”
Webster started his career in black and red under Frank Hadden in 2002 and, in ten seasons, made 127 appearances, racking up 34 tries in the process.
Alongside his impressive club form, Webster was a regular feature on the wing (and occasionally in the centre) for Scotland from 2003 to 2009, scoring eight tries, including this one which was probably my favourite Webster moment:
Other notable international highlights include starting all five of Scotland’s Rugby World Cup matches in 2007 (the only player to do so), twice lifting the Calcutta Cup (2006 and 2008), helping Scotland defeat Argentina in Buenos Aires in 2008, and playing all three matches in Scotland A’s IRB Nations Cup success in Bucharest in 2009.
Edinburgh Rugby managing director, Craig Docherty, said: “Ten seasons at the peak of any professional sport is a significant achievement and few more so than the intensely competitive modern rugby game.
“On behalf of the Edinburgh Rugby players, coaches, staff and supporters, I’d like to thank Simon for his time at the club and wish him all the best for the future.”
Here at the Scottish Rugby Blog, we’d echo that sentiment.
Total appearances: 127; 80 + 15 (RaboDirect PRO12); 27 + 5 (Heineken Cup)
Edinburgh Rugby debut: v Newcastle Falcons (August 2002)
Previous clubs: Northampton Saints
Total tries: 34; 28 (RaboDirect PRO12), 6 (Heineken Cup)
International honours: Scotland (37 caps)
Rory is the editor of Scottish Rugby Blog, and has offered a fan's view on Scottish Rugby since founding the blog.