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Davidson joins Van Der Merwe in confirming Edinburgh departure

Richard Cockerill insists Edinburgh will still retain a strong squad.

Davidson joins Van Der Merwe in confirming Edinburgh departure SNS Group

Andrew Davidson will join Duhan Van Der Merwe in leaving Edinburgh this summer after it was confirmed the lock had agreed to join Gloucester.

But Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill has assured supporters there will be no mass exodus of players following news of the double departure inside 24 hours.

Former Glasgow and Newcastle lock Davidson, 24, joined Edinburgh from Warriors ahead of this season and will leave after one year.

Worcester tied up prolific try-scorer and new Scotland international Van Der Merwe on a deal for next season earlier in the week.

Cockerill said: “Duhan has left for his reasons and Andrew Davidson will go to Gloucester. Some of that is because of where they want to play from a competition point of view.

“But we’ve done some deals and there are a few others still to do.

“There are no guarantees in any sport that everyone is going to stay. But I can assure people that we will still have a strong squad of guys who will make Edinburgh a good team going forward and will provide players for Scotland.”

South African-born wing Van Der Merwe has scored 31 tries in 64 appearances for Edinburgh and recently qualified to play for Gregor Townsend’s Scotland team under residency rules.

Cockerill said: “We always want to keep our best players and did everything we could as a club and as a union to keep him. But it wasn’t to be.

“In some ways it’s a compliment that other clubs look at our players and what we’ve done over the past four years developing Duhan as a player.

“We would have liked to have kept him for obvious reasons but this is professional sport – it’s the way of the world. We have to wish him well and we move on.

“It’s just market forces. We put forward a more than competitive offer to Duhan. He’s chosen not to accept that to go elsewhere. That’s the economics of it.

“We have to respect his decision. We have him for the next months and he’ll still be coming back to play for Scotland hopefully. But it opens the door for someone else.”

Cockerill stated that they had to keep their financial offer to Van Der Merwe realistic, while Davidson was keen to play in the English top flight.

“It doesn’t take too much working out that we’ve got young players coming through who have come on to the scene and become internationals since they were last awarded contracts,” he said. “So they’re going to want more money.

“We are in Covid times so budgets are very tight. Wages go up and your budget goes down so you have to manage that sensibly.

“There was only a point we could go to in Duhan’s case. It was a very robust financial offer but he didn’t accept it.”

Meanwhile, Cockerill expects Davidson and Grant Gilchrist to be back from injury for Friday’s Guinness PRO14 clash with Glasgow at Scotstoun.