Edinburgh Rugby have signed versatile front-row forward James Hilterbrand on a two-year deal from Super Rugby side Western Force, subject to visa and medical examination.
The 24-year-old, who has senior experience across hooker and both prop positions, represented all of South Australia’s age-grade sides as well as the national under-18 team.
He then moved to Sydney to join Manly Marlins where he spent five seasons gaining more competitive experience and working hard to bolster his now 18-stone frame.
At Manly he switched between positions in the Shute Shield before picking up his first professional contract with Western Force, making two Super Rugby appearances and starting against the British & Irish Lions in June.
Edinburgh Rugby head coach Alan Solomons, said:
James’ versatility will be very useful for us, especially when you consider the attritional nature of the front-row and immense physicality they must endure over the course of the season.
“His addition follows the recruitment of Wicus Blaauw last week and means we now have more depth and better competition for places in our front-row, with our young Scottish props learning from experienced campaigners.”
Hilterbrand, who will arrive early next month, is eligible to represent Scotland through his grandmother, Doris, from Aberdeen, and grandfather, William Bain, from Falkirk, who played for Aberdeen FC either side of the Second World War.
His mother, Jennifer, is the only one of four sisters not born in the land of his new home, adding depth to his Scottish roots.
Hilterbrand said: “I’m really excited about joining Edinburgh Rugby.
“I want to get a taste of Scottish rugby as soon as possible. I think this move is coming at the perfect time for me to learn from the best and keep progressing my footie.
I hope to bring a different rugby perspective because of my different pathway into professional rugby. I’ll definitely bring a lot of energy and heaps of passion.
Touching on his Scottish roots, Hilterbrand, added: “Unfortunately my grandparents have passed away now, but I know they’d both be very proud to see one of the grandsons living in Scotland and playing for one of the top club sides."
James Hilterbrand (24), hooker/prop
Height: 184cm (6’), weight 114kg (18st)
South Australia Schoolsboys, Australia under-18, Manly Marlins (2011 Shute Shield semi-finalists, 2012 Preliminary Shute Shield semi-finalists), Australia National Academy 2013, Western Force (Super Rugby).