Hodgson and Sykes locked in ahead of 1872 Cup derbies

Hodgson and Sykes locked in ahead of 1872 Cup derbies

Edinburgh Rugby has received a significant boost ahead of the upcoming 1872 Cup intercity derbies with the re-signing of Scotland locks Jamie Hodgson and Marshall Sykes.

Hodgson, 23, and Sykes, 21, both made their international debuts in the recent Autumn Nation Series Test against Tonga, with Hodgson going on to face Australia and World Champions South Africa at BT Murrayfield.

The duo both developed through the FOSROC Super6 system – with Hodgson representing Watsonians and Sykes turning out for Ayrshire Bulls – and join fellow Academy graduate Cammy Hutchison in extending pro terms with the capital club.

The second-row pairing have enjoyed impressive starts to the 2021/22 season, with Hodgson featuring in six matches and Sykes five, with both playing a significant role in the club’s EPCR Challenge Cup Round 1 victory against Saracens at StoneX Stadium last weekend.

Head Coach Mike Blair, said: “Jamie and Marshall have both been excellent for us so far this season and thoroughly deserved their Scotland debuts in the Autumn.

​“They both bring a different style and skillset to the squad but are as equally as hard working and determined to continually develop and improve as players." Head Coach Mike Blair

“We’re delighted to see two more young Scottish Academy graduates commit their future to the club and we hope that they’ll be part of Edinburgh Rugby for the foreseeable future.

Originally a product of Livingston RFC, Hodgson attended the capital city’s Stewart’s Melville College, where he captained the school’s first XV.

The lock represented Scotland U18 during his final year of school, before stepping up to U20 level, where earned age-grade honours in both the U20 Six Nations and World Rugby Championship in 2018.

Hodgson played his senior club rugby at Watsonians RFC while enrolled in the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy and penned his first pro deal with Edinburgh Rugby in partnership with the Myreside club in 2018/19.

A key player at FOSROC Super6 side Watsonians before stepping up the pro ranks, Hodgson has now made 30 appearances for the capital club since making his Edinburgh Rugby debut away to Zebre in 2018.

Hodgson, said: “I’m really excited to be staying at Edinburgh. This is my club and the club that I’ve grown up supporting. I came through the academy here and it’s where I was given the opportunity to play professional rugby. Edinburgh is very special to me, so many of my friends are here and I feel very proud to represent my city.

“I think the last few seasons I’ve shown what I’m about performing for Edinburgh. To get capped for Scotland was a dream come true and an unbelievable experience.

“The environment they have created in camp is incredible and it was really special to be a part of that. I learnt a huge amount and I want to continue to get better and better and challenge myself every week and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to do it again.

​“Edinburgh Rugby is a really enjoyable place to be at the minute. We are so lucky to have an incredible group of players and staff and it definitely feels like we are building something special at the club." Jamie Hodgson

“To have our own stadium full of our own fans has been amazing and it’s important to note they are such a massive part of making the atmosphere here at the club. I look forward to what the future holds for us.”

Born in Woodbridge, England, and educated at Ipswich’s St Joseph’s College, Sykes joined the club from Glasgow Warriors in 2020 after impressing at both Ayrshire Bulls and with Scotland at age-grade level, where he featured in all five games at the 2019 World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Argentina.

Sykes made his first Edinburgh Rugby start against Dragons at Principality Stadium in March 2021, before scoring his first try for the club in the 28-28 Rainbow Cup draw against Scarlets in June 2021.

Sykes has now made 13 appearances for the capital club, his most recent coming in Saturday’s victory against three-time European Champions, Saracens.

Sykes, said: “I’m so grateful to have been able to commit my future to Edinburgh Rugby.

"Personally, it means everything as I’ve got a top-class support system surrounding me from all aspects and I really feel it will allow me to be the best I can be." Marshall Sykes

“This year has been massive for me,” Sykes continued. “I feel every opportunity I’ve had, I haven’t taken for granted - from playing with Edinburgh to gaining my first cap against Tonga. At the same time, I look forward to what’s ahead, knowing I’m in the right place to keep pushing myself to get better.

“The main thing for me is I come into training every day with a smile on my face and I leave with one on my face too. When you’ve got an environment like that you’re bound to see it reflect on the pitch, which in my opinion it has.

“I’m really excited for the future at this club because I feel like this is just the beginning of a special period for Edinburgh Rugby.”

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