Edinburgh’s Aleki Lutui moves to Gloucester

Aleki Lutui in action for Edinburgh. Picture: SNS

Aleki Lutui in action for Edinburgh. Picture: SNS

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Edinburgh Rugby have parted company with experienced Tongan hooker Aleki Lutui, who will join Gloucester after a season at BT Murrayfield.

The 35-year-old was a controversial acquisition when he arrived a year ago aged 34 and older than the retiring Allan Jacobsen in the front row.

That view was enhanced when the player was sin-binned in his first game – a 10-44 defeat by Ospreys which saw him suspended.

However, Lutui bounced back to start four more games before dramatically falling out of favour.

The last of Lutui’s five starts came against Gloucester at home in the Heineken European Cup and although he came off the bench in the home win over Perpignan, from there on head coach Alan Solomons opted for either Ross Ford or James Hilterbrand in the front row.

That outing against Gloucester, which Edinburgh lost 12-23, had a major impact on Lutui.

“I was in the Edinburgh side that played Gloucester at Murrayfield last season and the support that the away fans gave the team made a real impression on me. To have those supporters shouting for me is something I cannot wait for.

“To be representing a club with the history such as Gloucester will be an honour,” said Lutui, whose Capital connections finished with an outing for Edinburgh Accies in the Premiership.

This latest departure will go some way to addressing a preponderance of hookers at Edinburgh, who still have Ford and Hilterbrand on their books as well as Stuart McInally, Neil Cochrane and George Turner.

• Scotland Under-20s today ended their junior World Cup tournament in tenth place after a 21-41 defeat by Argentina.

The Scots trailed 0-23 before a try from Boroughmuir and Edinburgh back row Magnus Bradbury got them off the mark.

Trailing 7-23 at the interval, the young Scots managed further scores from Rory Hutchinson and Gavin Lowe to close the gap to 23-33 with 10 minutes of the Auckland tie remaining.

However, the loss of an interception try and a penalty put paid to hopes of a sensational revival.