Scotland Lock Hamilton Joins Edinburgh
Scotland lock Jim Hamilton has become Edinburgh head coach Andy Robinson’s first summer signing after agreeing a three-year contract that will see him swap Leicester Tigers for the Scottish capital next season. The 25-year-old admits he is thrilled to have joined Edinburgh and explained that becoming part of a vibrant young squad and working with Robinson were two of the key factors that persuaded him to move north.Scotland lock Jim Hamilton has become Edinburgh head coach Andy Robinson’s first summer signing after agreeing a three-year contract that will see him swap Leicester Tigers for the Scottish capital next season. The 25-year-old admits he is thrilled to have joined Edinburgh and explained that becoming part of a vibrant young squad and working with Robinson were two of the key factors that persuaded him to move north. Hamilton said: I can’t wait to get involved with Edinburgh. I have had a taste of being around a lot of the Edinburgh boys and it is a really exciting place to be. Edinburgh’s performances this year have been excellent, including that stand-out one against Leicester in the Heineken Cup which made the rugby world sit up and take notice. I think that is just a sign of things to come. I want to be a part of that growth and to help Edinburgh to develop into a top rugby side that can compete and win against the best teams in Europe. I think Edinburgh are capable of doing that and I am really looking forward to helping the team achieve success over the next few years. There are some really exciting young players in the team with the likes of Nick De Luca and Ross Rennie; they have come into the fold and stood up. The home performances in the Heineken Cup were really encouraging and results show how good a team is. The wins Edinburgh recorded have made everyone stand back and take note. I’m really looking forward to working with Andy. I’ve spoken to him about the move and he seemed to be very excited about working with me. He knows the way forwards play inside out and he is one of the best forwards coaches in the northern hemisphere. I know what Andy will be expecting from me and hopefully he can develop me and push me onto the next stage of becoming a better player. I’m really excited about it all. Despite being born in England, 6’8 Hamilton says he was proud to make himself available for Scotland and the lure of establishing himself as first choice lock in the national team’s second row was another decisive factor behind the move. He added: I want to come up to Scotland and earn my stripes. I want to train hard in pre-season and show the lads what I’m made of through my work ethic. I want to play well for Edinburgh and to establish myself with Scotland. My Dad is Scottish and he is as Scottish as they come. I’ve got Scottish blood running through me and I’m passionate about calling myself Scottish. Playing for Scotland has been the best thing that has ever happened in my career. I cannot really explain in words how emotional I am about playing for Scotland at Murrayfield. I need to be playing regular first team rugby in order to increase my chances of playing for Scotland as well. I got a feel for playing international rugby during the World Cup. I was playing week in, week out and I was first choice. I think by the end of the World Cup I was playing some of the best rugby I’ve ever played. That was down to playing consistent rugby and getting the opportunity to play every week. It is not just results that have attracted Hamilton to Edinburgh; the towering lock also says the squad’s team spirit has impressed him. He said: When I first came up to Scotland to play, I didn’t really know anyone and everyone was really good towards helping me settle in. Craig Smith was at the forefront of making me feel welcome and there were other guys like Allister Hogg, Dave Callam and Allan Jacobsen that made a real effort. All the guys in the Edinburgh squad were brilliant and that aspect makes the move so much easier. Robinson welcomed the move and believes Hamilton will add extra quality to Edinburgh’s front five next season. He said: I am really pleased that we have been able to secure a second row of Jim’s class and he will come and push for a spot. But there are some good second rows competing for a place with him. Jim is highly skilled in the basics of the game, he has real lineout prowess and he is a really strong scrummager. Another important quality for Edinburgh will be his mauling work in the tight-loose which will complement the rest of the squad. He is a good character as well and it is great that we have added another talented, young Scottish player to the squad. Edinburgh chief executive Nic Cartwright echoed Robinson’s sentiments by applauding the arrival of Hamilton. Cartwright said: Jim Hamilton’s arrival is a real coup for Edinburgh and hopefully shows our supporters and the rugby public here in the city that we have serious ambitions for the future. Our team has grown significantly over the past nine months; both on and off the pitch. But we are determined to not take our foot off the gas and we want to gain further momentum ahead of next season. I’m sure Jim will play a significant role in helping us to generate further growth and there is a genuine sense of excitement at Edinburgh. Scottish Rugby chief executive Gordon McKie also backed the switch and believes Hamilton’s move to Murrayfield will be beneficial for both Edinburgh and Scotland. McKie said: As we outlined in December’s strategic plan, we are aiming to bring the best Scottish players back to Scotland and Jim Hamilton’s move to Edinburgh underlines that intention. Jim is an excellent young player who has yet to reach his peak in rugby and I’m sure he will prove to be a tremendous servant for both Edinburgh and Scotland over the next three years. After securing Ross Ford, Mike Blair and Ross Rennie to long-term contracts, we are laying down the foundations for long-term success at Edinburgh and watching the team develop over the course of the season has been hugely rewarding.