Since arriving at Edinburgh in 2013 Alan Solomons has had no problem releasing players and bringing in new faces, and this upcoming season is no different. A lot of the remaining old guard – Matt Scott, Mike Coman, Jack Cuthbert, Greig Tonks – have moved on, barring Scott, to lesser clubs. While backup players Sam Beard, John Andress and Alex Toolis have also left Scotland.
To replace them, Solomons has brought in some shrewd signings. In addition to keeping Jason Tovey at Murrayfield/Myreside, the South African has lured a couple of Scottish internationals to the capital club, as well as some exciting young backs with a mixture of PRO12, TOP14 and Super Rugby pedigree.
The biggest-name signing on offer, Scotland international Weir moves to Edinburgh in the hope of regular rugby and becoming first-choice 10 after continuously playing a bit-part at rivals Glasgow. A monotonous fly-half, there are no doubts about Weir’s kicking or passing but concerns over his defence and flair have plagued him throughout his career. Should still become Edinburgh’s main man with Tovey, Phil Burleigh and Blair Kinghorn behind him.
Another player looking for regular rugby at Edinburgh, clinical finisher Scholes signs from Ulster on a two-year deal after failing to oust seasoned wingers Craig Gilroy, Tommy Bowe and Andrew Trimble. With five tries in 25 Ulster appearances and 33 points in nine games for Ireland’s under 20s, Scholes is impressive in attack but expect Tom Brown and Damien Hoyland to keep their wing spots for the time being.
He was never going to nudge Stuart Hogg out of Glasgow’s XV so it makes sense for Bryce to move down the M8. An impressive player whether it was with Glasgow or the Scottish Sevens team, the younger Bryce has a lovely turn of speed and is solid under the high ball. Very versatile in the backline and should see plenty of playing time, mainly at fullback.
Glenn’s older brother joins Edinburgh after making a handful of appearances for Glasgow in his three years with the club, but he has a lot of work to do to beat Ross Ford and Stuart McInally for the hooker spot. Capped by Scotland in that ridiculous injury-ravaged 2014 summer tour, 27-year-old Bryce is one of the growing number of hookers that played flanker as a youngster, meaning he has a high-work ethic and is not shy of getting involved in the loose.
A Melrose prop nearly all his life, 29-year-old tighthead Beavon won’t see many opportunities with WP McNel ahead of him but might find himself in a few matchday 23s given injuries and form. The self-employed joiner has trained twice a week with the club since January but at over 120kgs, he’s a big boy.
A Fijian-Australian centre with three years of Super Rugby to his name, Rasolea is a physical lad and can often come off as quite one-dimensional. Despite experience with the Australian Sevens team, Rasolea is shy when it comes to the try line and you have a higher chance of seeing him truck the ball straight up or trying to put in a big tackle. If Solomons wants to play a quick expansive game them unfortunately the former Western Force player is not your man. If he wants to slog the opposition into submission, he’s a better bet than Burleigh or Chris Dean.
An almost Gregor Townsend-esq signing. By all accounts an absolute thunderbolt of a runner, young Australian winger Northam signs from Sydney side North Harbour Rays after spending the last few months on loan at La Rochelle. A previous under 20 international and Australia Sevens player, Northam looks good on paper but you’d think there could be a reason that no Super Rugby side looked closely at him. Will surely get game time during the Autumn Internationals and Six Nations.
Signed from Division Two side Kirkcaldy, young centre Tofilau could surprise a few people with his performances this season. Has previous with Waikato and Australia under 20s and he won the Melrose Sevens with Edinburgh in April. A typical Pacific Islander, Tofilau combines speed and size with some beautiful offloads and deft touches. Some decent cameos from the bench could see him secure a semi-permanent spot in the backline.
UPDATE (15/7): Edinburgh have also signed Tongan international back row Viliami Fihaki on a two-year contract. The 29-year-old joins from Sale Sharks and is a Number 8 who plays a bit of blindside. He made his international debut for Tonga against Japan in May 2013, and has eight Test caps for his country and two tries. Before his spell at Sale (where he played alongside Edinburgh scrum-half Nathan Fowles), Fihaki played with New Zealand provincial side North Harbour for over four years in the ITM Cup.