BT Premiership outfit Watsonians have announced that former Ulster and Edinburgh Rugby player Michael Allen has joined the club ahead of the 2017/18 season.

The 26-year-old retired from professional rugby in May having spent two years with Edinburgh.

That spell in the capital followed a long association with hometown club Ulster.

Allen, a centre or winger, said: “I have loved my time in professional rugby, but when a new contract was not forthcoming from Edinburgh I decided the time was right to step away from the game at that level.

“It was a hard decision to make, but my wife and I are settled in Edinburgh and we have a baby on the way so the time was right.

“I am excited about my new career in the financial sector with St James Place Wealth Management and it is really good to be in that environment and learning different skills.

“However, I did not want to walk away from rugby completely as I feel I still have a lot to offer and thought I would miss the banter and camaraderie of the changing room.

“I had a couple of positive discussions with new Watsonians head coach Steve Lawrie and I was impressed by his passion and vision for the club.

“I know Watsonians stayed up in the top flight last year and are looking to build on that showing and I think I can help those efforts and lend my experience to the cause.

“I am also looking forward to helping the young players who are coming through the club progress. I have been impressed by the talent in the group and there is a vibrant, young core to the team which bodes very well for the future.

Lawrie said:  “We are delighted to get an experienced player like Michael on board.

“My coaching colleague Neil Cochrane has worked with him at Edinburgh for the last two years and speaks very highly of him while I have been impressed with his desire to be part of this project.

“One of the key things for me is that, as he is a recent pro, he will be able to help our young, talented players progress and get used to the rigours of the BT Premiership.”

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