Scotland international John Hardie will be leaving Edinburgh Rugby this summer, Head Coach Richard Cockerill has confirmed.
The New Zealand-born back-row, who has 16 national team caps, returned to training in January after a three month ban handed out by Scottish Rugby for “gross misconduct”.
Since then he has been back playing for Edinburgh in the Guinness PRO14 and trained with Scotland last week, but his future lies away from the capital.
The 29-year-old arrived on these shores in a blaze of publicity back in 2015 when he made his debut against Italy in a World Cup warm-up match.
He was eligible to play for Scotland through his grandmother Christina Lumsden from Low Valleyfield, Culross in Fife and was part of the Highlanders squad that had won the Super Rugby title earlier that year.
Four caps came at the World Cup down south and then he joined Edinburgh, with Alan Solomons then in charge, on a two year deal.
Last summer he penned a new one year contract at the club before his off field issues and, with his exit at the end of May now confirmed, it will be interesting to see where he ends up playing next.
Cockerill said: “John won’t be staying.
“He is the same as a lot of other guys, we have a lot of young guys coming through and financially we need to spread our costs.
“We have to make sure we are getting value out of our budget. We have guys like Jamie Ritchie and Luke Crosbie coming through who can both play at while Hamish [Watson] is first choice for Scotland.
“Add in John Barclay [who arrives this summer] and there is a lot of good back-row players.
“We need to get value from the squad and get the right balance moving forward.”
Cockerill, whose side face a crucial league match at BT Murrayfield against Munster this Friday, has admitted he still has further new signings for 2018/19 to announce with the front-row his priority.
Keep It SCRUM’ for the news and views from all areas of the game – view SCRUM 104 here
To subscribe for FREE click here