Edinburgh Rugby reinforced its front-row options today as hookers Steven Lawrie and Alun Walker extended their contracts with the capital club.
The front-row pair enjoyed strong seasons at Murrayfield, with Scotland A cap Lawrie starting the year in barnstorming form, starring in 12 of 15 matches before his season was interrupted by a knee injury in December.
With Lawrie sidelined, promising 21 year-old development prospect Alun Walker took the opportunity to act as understudy for fellow Edinburgh Rugby hooker and Scotland captain Ross Ford, making 10 appearances and scoring his first try for the club against Ulster in January.
Lawrie and Walker are the latest in a long line of top Scots to extend their commitment to Edinburgh Rugby this season, with 10 quality signings added in the summer months as the club sets its sights on league and cup silverware.
Lawrie said: “I was really pleased with how things were going up until Christmas and am delighted to extend my contract at a really exciting time for the club.
“You only have to look at the number and quality of the players we’ve signed to understand how tough it’s going to be for players get into the starting 15 and I’m sure that will bring out the best in the squad.
“I’m desperate to get myself right and fight for my position which means fending off Alun [Walker] and having a good shot at Ross [Ford]. Although he’s Scotland captain, there’s no point being happy sitting on the bench, or not being involved at all.”
Educated at Musselburgh Grammar School and North Berwick High School, Alun Walker has played club rugby for both Musselburgh and Currie, and has represented Scotland at U18, U19 and U20.
Today’s news represents the latest stage in the development of the youngster and sees him join Matt Scott, Grant Gilchrist, Harry Leonard and Alex Black on the list of players to graduate from the club’s elite development programme to a full-time professional contract this season.
He said: “I got a fair bit of game time last season which, for me, was a big highlight, as was scoring my first try and getting to work as part of the Heineken Cup squad leading into last season’s quarter and semi-finals.
“It was all a great experience for me and I owe a lot of my progress to the strength and conditioning coaches for bringing me on physically.
“I know I’ve still work to do in that area if I want to compete with the best but I’m well placed for my age in this position and am desperate to follow the high standards set by some of the other elite development players into regular first team rugby.”