Remaining Few Edinburgh Contract Negotiations On-Going

Edinburgh Rugby head coach Richard Cockerill has given an update on where his squad stands in terms of players left to re-sign and the possibility of retaining said players or having to look to pastures new for talent and depth.

Hickey is one of the few names left to re-commit to the club. (Photo: Edinburgh Rugby twitter)

Head coach Richard Cockerill has discussed the ongoing negotiations the club is holding with the few players left on his re-signing list.

Of the names, fly-half Simon Hickey was the main topic of conversation once Cockerill confirmed that an extra year option has already been activated on the contracts of both prop WP Nel and fly-half Jaco Van Der Walt.

“I think it’s like everything,” Cockerill explained. “It’s what he wants to do, what that costs, all those things. Because at the moment we spend our budget, our budget has stayed pretty much the same, players become more expensive and you have to start moving the jigsaw around.”

26-year-old Hickey’s jigsaw is not yet finished, as the Auckland born player stated the negotiations between him and the club are ongoing, but that he does have the intention to remain in the capital.

“We’re in chats about that [a new contract] at the moment. There’s discussions ongoing but I’m just doing my best to focus on the rugby aspect of things. It’s been nice to get some game-time so I’m just trying to play well and if I do that, those things tend to take care of themselves.”

The kiwi originally signed for Edinburgh from Bordeaux Beagles in November 2017, having previously represented Blues in Super Rugby and the New Zealand Under-20s side. During his debut season in the Scottish capital, Hickey scored 92 points in 19 appearances. He has since gone on to rack up 33 Edinburgh appearances, enjoying a recent run of form having been second fiddle to Van Der Walt for the majority of last season.

“I’ve played a few different places, I’ve played in New Zealand and France as well as here so I don’t think there’s any leagues in particular [he wants to play in],” Hickey explained. “I’m just deciding what’s the next best step for me in terms of my rugby.

“I’m getting to an age where I’m hoping my best years are still to come – as a 10, it takes a while to mature and learn your game so I’m hoping that my best years are still ahead of me. I want to be at a place where I’m pushing to get better and get to play a lot of rugby.”

Aside from Hickey, Cockerill discussed the batch of re-signings he has recently undertaken, saying, “Majority is renewals. There’s still a few to sort on that and we’ll see what that looks like. As players mature and get better, they become more expensive to keep and also the jigsaw of the recruitment bit.”

Getting in to specifics, he added, “We’re still waiting on [Pietro] Ceccarelli and see what happens with him – he’s out of contract and he’s an Italian international now and that changes the dynamic a little bit. Nothing too traumatic.”

The head coach remains steadfast in the knowledge that along with his well experienced players, he also has a crop of Scottish qualified, young players developing in his squad’s systems.

“We’ve got some good young players coming through as well – young players like [Rory] Darge and [Connor] Boyle. Dan Winning made his debut at the weekend. Playing for the future, Scottish-qualified players – we’re bringing the next generation through.”

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