SAM Hidalgo-Clyne will leave Edinburgh at the end of the season after a breakdown in contract negotiations. The 24-year-old is as yet unsure of his next move, but has already attracted interest from England and France and would be open to a move to either country.
“After spending his entire career at Edinburgh, and now with a young family, the time is right for a fresh challenge,” a source close to the player said. “Like everyone else in the squad, he has been encouraged by the improvements made this season under [head coach] Richard Cockerill, and feels his game has improved under the new boss. While he was keen on staying on in the capital, he feels that developments over the last few months firmly suggest that his future lies elsewhere.”
Capped nine times by Scotland, Hidalgo-Clyne has been with Edinburgh since leaving school, initially with the development squad, and has now made over 100 appearances for the team. He made his debut in 2013, the year he was also awarded a MacPhail Scholarship to New Zealand. He made his mark on the Pro 12 in 2015, winning the Young Player of the Year after a string of standout performances.
His first international cap was off the bench against France in 2015, and he went on to play eight times for Scotland that year, although his only start was against Italy in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match. He also came off the bench the following year against Wales, but has dropped down the pecking order with the emergence of Glasgow Warriors’ Ali Price. After injury ruled him out of Scotland’s Summer Tour in 2017, Edinburgh team-mate Nathan Fowles has been preferred to him by new Scotland coach Gregor Townsend so far this season.
Given that lack of recent international recognition, Hidalgo-Clyne knows that a change of circumstances is the next step in his career. While initially vying for position with Fowles at the start of the season, he has become Cockerill’s first pick at scrum-half, starting the key matches in both the Pro 14 and European Challenge Cup.
Whatever the future holds, Hidalgo-Clyne is focused on a successful end to the season with Edinburgh. “Sam has been in good form this season and has been really enjoying his rugby,” the source added. “He is committed to give everything and help the team to progress in both the PRO 14 and in the Challenge Cup and hopefully cap off a good season.”