Busy day for Tom Heathcote, as he was announced as Edinburgh’s newest standoff and also switched with Wasps’ Ruaridh Jackson on the summer tour.
Born in Inverness, 22-year-old Heathcote won his first cap for the nation as a replacement in the 2012 EMC Test against Tonga at Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen, the game that ended Andy Robinson’s tenure as Scotland coach.
He was selected in Scotland’s 2013 RBS 6 Nations squad and subsequently started at stand-off for Scotland A, kicking eight points in the 13-9 win over England Saxons, the side’s first win on English soil.
He then went on to make two starts for Scotland in the 2013 summer quadrangular tournament against Samoa and Italy, and is considered one of the brightest young contenders for the national number 10 jersey.
Tom Heathcote said: “I’m really excited about joining Edinburgh Rugby, to play for them in the PRO12 and European Rugby Challenge Cup, and to play where I want to be internationally.
“From my point of view, I’ve had about three years of Premiership experience, but am still quite young. I’m sure I’ll keep developing as a player in a team that will continue to improve in the coming seasons, especially as that core of young players gets more game time and experience.”
On leaving school in Salisbury, Heathcote was immediately snapped up by the Bath Academy and made his first team debut for the west-country club in 2011.
He was shortlisted for the 2013 LV= Breakthrough Player Award, after outstanding performances in the early stages of the competition but last season he stagnated behind English wunderkind and coach’s son George Ford whilst clearly attached to his lifestyle in the South West. His deal at this stage is only for a year but with greater game time and perhaps some success pushing for the international jersey, Edinburgh may prove a real attraction to him longer terms, both in terms of rugby and lifestyle.
He has gone on to score 257 points in 41 Premiership and European Cup appearances, and will now look to continue his development for the capital club in the PRO12.
Before that though, Ruaridh Jackson and Heathcote have swapped places for this month’s summer Test tour schedule.
Heathcote will now be part of the Scotland touring squad for visits to Argentina and South Africa while Jackson joined the squad in Texas yesterday (Sunday) ahead of this Saturday’s Test against USA at the BBVA Compass Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm local, 1.30am BST). Mark Bennett and Grayson Hart have also been called up to the squad in place of Alex Dunbar and Chris Cusiter who suffered knocks in the RaboDirect PRO12 Final.
We’ll bring you word on any TV coverage as soon as we know.