Nel re-signs for a decade of Edinburgh Rugby
Edinburgh Rugby centurion and Scotland internationalist WP Nel today penned a contract extension that will see the tighthead prop celebrate a decade of rugby in the Scottish capital.
With a new deal, Nel, 34, will surpass a tenth consecutive season, having joined Edinburgh from South African side Cheetahs in 2012.
Capped 42 times for Scotland – the most recent of which came in last Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations contest with Wales – Nel continues to be an instrumental performer for both club and country and is regarded as one of northern hemisphere’s premier tightheads.
Nel chiselled a place in club folklore earlier this season when he made his 150th appearance against Glasgow Warriors, becoming only the tenth player in Edinburgh Rugby history to reach the landmark.
Nel will now gear up for a 10th straight season in a city, and country, he truly regards as home, and where his wife and four children have long settled.
On extending his contract, Nel said: “Edinburgh is such a special place and club for me. My family and I are well settled in this beautiful city we now call home.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I would still be here after all these years and still playing at 34.
“But I can’t complain about the way I’m playing at the moment. It’s still a huge honour to be selected for both Edinburgh and Scotland.
“To reach 150 games for the club earlier this season was really special for me and to join guys like Fordy [Ross Ford], Gilcho [Grant Gilchrist] and Stu [McInally] in that group was awesome.” WP Nel
A Scotland debutant in 2015, Nel’s international career has taken in two Rugby World Cups (2015 and 2019), while the former-Cheetahs star also featured for the Barbarians against England in 2017.
A cornerstone of the Edinburgh pack for a near-decade, Nel continues to be a fan favourite in the Scottish capital due to his ferocious scrummaging and ability in the loose – highlighted by the now-famous 40m score against Leinster in 2013.
Alongside his playing contract Nel hopes to use the experience gained during an acclaimed career to bring on the next generation of Scottish props, as he admits coaching is very much on his radar in the near future.
“Coaching is something I would like to explore further in this next two years,” continued Nel.
“I already like to work with the younger players at the club. I feel like I can help them improve as players and hopefully I can help them go and represent Scotland.
“We have a lot of exciting and young forwards at the club and there are exciting times ahead with our new stadium.
“I think it going to be special for us as a club to move into our new home. We can now have our own identity and build on it.”
Edinburgh Head Coach, Richard Cockerill, added: “WP is a club legend and we’re delighted he’ll pull on the jersey for his tenth season at Edinburgh Rugby.
“He continues to be a pivotal member of the squad and you only had to see his performance at Parc y Scarlets earlier this season, or from the bench against Wales on Saturday, to see that he’s still a special player.
“WP has played a lot of games for this club and his contributions throughout a near-decade of rugby in Edinburgh should be recognised and celebrated.
“He is and will continue to be a real role model for the next generation of Edinburgh Rugby props.”