Toolis to leave at end of season
Edinburgh Rugby can confirm club centurion and Scotland lock Ben Toolis will leave the club at the end of the season.
Toolis, 29, will make the move to a Japanese Top League side following the 2021/22 campaign, his ninth and final season in the Scottish capital.
The lock – who joined the club alongside twin brother, Alex, in 2013 – made his Scotland debut in 2015 and has since gone on to win 26 caps for his country, earning selection for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
“I’m moving on at the end of the season because I partly want to experience something new, but also move closer to home,” said Toolis.
“When a new opportunity arose in Japan, I was so excited at the prospect of that experience, but the idea of leaving Edinburgh after nine years was also daunting." Ben Toolis
“However, I decided that it’s the perfect time in my rugby career to experience something new and challenge myself in a different culture and environment.”
An exceptional athlete and highly skilled set-piece operator, Toolis became the capital side’s 32nd club centurion in December 2018, playing his 100th game in the 23-7 1872 Cup win over Glasgow Warriors at BT Murrayfield.
“When I joined the club in 2013, I was so nervous to uproot my life and move across the world but I was also extremely hopeful that a career in professional rugby would be all that I imagined,” continued Toolis.
“I’m pleased to say that my time at Edinburgh Rugby has completely surpassed all my expectations. I am extremely fortunate to have been part of this historic club and to have played over 100 games for Edinburgh is a huge honour for me and it’s something I am extremely proud of.
“I have been so lucky to explore and play in so many different countries and stadiums during my tenure at Edinburgh Rugby but receiving my 100th cap at BT Murrayfield Stadium in our 1872 Cup win was something I’ll never forget.
“However, the biggest highlight of my career so far is the people I have met and the friendships that I have formed. The Edinburgh Rugby boys have really made my last nine years such an enjoyable experience.”
With 127 appearances to date, Toolis will depart having already played the second-most ever games in the capital club’s second-row and is only beaten by current club captain Grant Gilchrist for appearances by an Edinburgh lock .
“I have been spoiled for choice with the number of talented and world class players I have played alongside at Edinburgh Rugby,” continued Toolis.
“From a second-row point of view, I’ve been able build a great partnership with Gilco over the years and felt we complimented each other well and he was one player that always helped me play my best.
“All the players at Edinburgh Rugby have contributed into making me the player I am today due to their knowledge and ability on and off the field, so I thank them for that.”
Toolis – who is currently rehabbing a knee injury – has not featured for Edinburgh since June, however the lock is hoping to be back in early 2022, where he will be able to pull on the Edinburgh colours for his final stint in the Scottish capital, before heading east.
“The past year has been extremely tough both mentally and physically due to injury. There have been a few hiccups and delays along the way but hope to be back very soon,” said Toolis.
“I want to finish my time at Edinburgh Rugby on a high and contribute in any way I can to help continue the momentum the club has built so far this season. I hope to pull the Edinburgh jersey on as much as I can and play for my teammates and fans.
“I would like to sincerely thank all the Edinburgh Rugby supporters for their passionate and continued support. You all made me feel so welcome when I joined the club and I have been proud to play for you all over the years." Ben Toolis
“I also want to thank my partner and my family back in Australia for their continued support throughout my career so far and during my time at Edinburgh Rugby.”
Head Coach Mike Blair, added: “Ben has been a special player for Edinburgh Rugby over the course of the past nine seasons and he’ll leave as both a club centurion and a seasoned internationalist.
“We’re obviously sad to see him go given all that he’s contributed to the club, however it’s a decision that Ben has clearly given a lot of thought and consideration, and so we wish him the very best for what is an exciting opportunity in Japan.
“We’re really hopeful that we’ll see Ben in Edinburgh colours before the season is up, where he’ll have the chance to compete and add to his 127 Edinburgh Rugby appearances.”