Edinburgh Rugby’s work to build for the coming season continued in earnest today with the signing of three new players.
The trio, all of whom qualify for Scotland through ancestry, include prop forwards Allan Dell and Simon Berghan, and outside-back Nick McLennan.
Berghan and McLennan will arrive in the summer on deals to 2015 and 2016 respectively, while Dell is expected to arrive in the coming weeks and will be immediately available for selection until 2016.
Edinburgh Rugby head coach Alan Solomons said: “Allan [Dell] is an outstanding talent. He is a good footballer, is very mobile, has good skills and a fantastic work rate.
“Simon [Berghan] is primarily a tighthead who has played for the Canterbury province in New Zealand’s rugby heartland.
“He's a big strong boy who has every prospect of cutting it at a higher level.
“Finally Nick [McLennan] is a guy who has played a lot of ITM Cup rugby. He is a good footballer who is versatile, being equally at home at stand-off, full-back and wing.“
Pictured [L to R]: Inbound trio Simon Berghan, Allan Dell and Nick McLennan.
Educated at Queens College in Eastern Cape, the promising young prop, who can play on both sides of the scrum, qualifies for Scotland through his grandmother, Joan Carmichael, who was born in Paisley and brought up in Edinburgh.
He has made 13 senior appearances in the Vodacom and Currie Cup competitions alongside his selection for South Africa Schools and every South Africa age-grade en route to lifting the Junior World Championship trophy with the under-20 side in 2012.
He said: “I’m really excited to get to Scotland and start the next chapter of my career.
It’s a very exciting time at the club, who are building a good brand of rugby, so it’s great to be part of that.
“The whole opportunity is fantastic. Alan Solomons is an excellent coach so it’s great to get the chance to work under him, compete for the chance to play for the club and, longer-term, for the chance to represent Scotland.
“I can’t wait to get out there and start performing.”
Born in Christchurch New Zealand, 23 year-old prop, Berghan – who can play on both sides of the scrum but has a preference for the tighthead side – progressed from Shirley Boys High School to local club Sydenham, who he has captained for the past two seasons.
He earned selection for the provincial Canterbury academy, B team and Crusader Knights, the development squad of the Super Rugby giants, before securing his one-year chance to prove himself in the capital.
He is eligible to represent Scotland through his grandfather, Andrew Davidson, from Stirling.
Simon Berghan said: “I’m delighted to get an opportunity to prove myself at this level.
It’s a professional contract at a great club that I just couldn’t say no to. Everything I’ve heard about the club and city has been good so I can’t wait to get out there, have crack at it and put my hand up.
“I’ve enjoyed the leadership role I’ve had here as club captain but when I arrive in Edinburgh my priority is just to get my head down and start grafting.
“That’s how I like it. The ball’s in my court and it’s up to me to impress.”
Versatile back Nick McLennan started his rugby development at Waitaki Boys’ High School and North Otago, before his induction into the Crusaders development squad in 2010.
Born in New Zealand, Nick qualifies for Scotland through his grandmother, Jean, from Balmoral and his grandfather Alexander McLennan, who was from Dunblane and served with the Gordon Highlanders.
Equally adept at stand-off, centre and full-back, McLennan was Canterbury Colts player of the year in 2010 and, most recently, featured in the ITM Cup for Hawke’s Bay.
The Lincoln University graduate was a constant feature in the New Zealand Universities XV during his undergraduate years and, after a short spell at Russian club Krasny Yar, is looking forward to plying his trade in Scotland.
He said: “I’m really excited to get this opportunity and can't wait to get stuck in. June can't come quickly enough.
It’s really proud moment for me and my family given my heritage. Having strong links with Scotland definitely made the move even more appealing, while the competitions the club plays in are world class. Being involved in that will be something special.
"I just want to get out there, get as much game time as possible and push for a starting spot, but I’m not getting ahead of myself, there’s a lot of work to do.”
Born: 16 March 1992 in Humansdrop
Height: 6ft (1.85m), weight: 17st 9lb (112kg)
Honours: South Africa Schools, South Africa U16, U18, U20 (2012 Junior World Championship winner).
Born: 7/12/1990 in Christchurch
Height: 6’3” (1.93m), weight: 19st 12lb (126kg)
Clubs: Shirley Boys High, Sydenham (captain), Crusaders Knights
Honours: Canterbury age-grades/academy, Canterbury (ITM Cup)
Born: 23/06/1988 in Oamaru
Height: 5ft 9in (1.8m), weight: 14st (89kg)
Clubs: North Otago, Hawke’s Bay
Honours: Canterbury Colts (player of the year, 2010), Canterbury age-grades/academy, Crusaders Knights