NEWS | Back-row duo extend their stay in Edinburgh

As the squad prepares for the 1872 Cup derby against Glasgow – which takes place at BT Murrayfield on Saturday (23 December, kick-off 5.10pm) – it has received a timely boost with the news of two key re-signings.

Back-row talisman Viliame "Big Bill" Mata has committed to the club for at least the next two years, whilst BT Sport Academy prospect Luke Crosbie graduates to a full-time two-and-a-half-year professional contract with immediate effect.

On both players extending their stay in the capital, Head Coach Richard Cockerill said: “We’re delighted that both Luke and Bill have committed their long-term futures to the club.

“Luke has progressed really well since making his debut earlier in the season, whilst Bill has been world class since his return to first XV action.

“Both players have bought into what we’re building here in Edinburgh and it's is a huge boost to the club to know that they have chosen to stay for at least the next two years."

A product of Livingston RFC, Crosbie transferred to Currie RFC as a teenager, where he progressed into the club’s first XV.

After impressing in the BT Premiership for Ben Cairn’s outfit – and improving his game as part of the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy - the back-row caught the attention of national selectors and was subsequently selected in the Scotland U20 squad for this summer’s World Rugby Under 20 Championship held in Georgia.

Having played a major role in helping the age-grade side to its highest-ever finish of fifth place, the 20-year-old was invited to Edinburgh’s St Andrews summer training camp. The back-row made his debut for the club during October’s 16-15 Guinness PRO14 victory over Zebre at Myreside.

Crosbie has made eight appearances so-far this season, crossing the whitewash once in the process.

On signing for his home club, the back-row said: “I have always wanted to play for Edinburgh as a kid and I am proud and delighted to sign my first professional contract with them. I'm looking forward to working hard for the team and play my part in building Edinburgh’s already strong culture.”

Fijian international Bill Mata has joined Crosbie in extending his stay in the capital. The 26-year-old back-row – who can also operate in the second-row – joined Edinburgh in July 2016 and has subsequently gone on to make 24 appearances for the club – scoring seven tries in that period.

Mata, who won a gold medal competing in rugby sevens during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, has been in dazzling form since his return to action this season and scooped November’s Try of the Month for his effort against the Southern Kings. The 26-year-old made his international test debut against Australia last June and has earned four caps for Fiji to date.

On re-signing for the club, Mata said: "I’m really pleased to re-sign with Edinburgh. My family and I have settled in the city and I’m really enjoying my rugby. Richard Cockerill has developed a great environment, both on and off the field, and It’s an exciting time to be part of the club.”

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