Rugby: Legend Chris Paterson one of nine Edinburgh stars leaving

Chris Paterson says his body has been telling him to quit after 14 years of professional rugby. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Chris Paterson says his body has been telling him to quit after 14 years of professional rugby. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Scotland’s most capped player Chris Paterson is set to make his final appearance in competitive rugby when Edinburgh face Benetton Treviso at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The 34-year-old retired from international rugby last December with 109 international appearances to his credit. However, Paterson will be retained by Edinburgh in a non-playing role.

Saturday’s RaboDirect Pro12 clash with the Italians will end a disappointing league campaign and, in addition to marking Paterson’s farewell, will also see the departure of nine other players taking their leave of the Capital outfit, as coach Michael Bradley culls the existing squad to make way for fresh blood.

Paterson is comfortable with his decision, believing that the difficulty he has had in recovering from knocks was an indication that it was time to quit. He will bring to an end 14 years as a professional rugby player. “It takes a lot of thinking and it takes a long time to make a decision, but I am really comfortable with the decision,” Paterson said. “I made it a few weeks ago, in all honesty.

“Since my international retirement by body has been sore, I have had a few knocks and I’ve not had a great sustained period of being able to train and play that much. It’s just my body saying enough’s enough.

“I’m ready to move on, I’ve got an exciting future ahead within Scottish rugby.

“I’m just delighted to focus on this weekend’s game, to do my best in training and do my best in the match. It’s tinged with sadness, because it’s something I love and something I’ve done for a long time. But my over-riding feeling is of happiness, enjoyment and fulfilment, because I’ve achieved far more than I ever thought I would. I have had such a great time, 14 years of love for my job.”

Joining Paterson are Mike Blair, Phil Godman, Jim Thompson, Andrew Kelly, Alan MacDonald, Esteban Lozada, Kyle Traynor, Jack Gilding and Ulises Gamboa, who has completed a short stint with the club. Thompson will miss Saturday’s farewell. He will be involved with the Scotland Sevens squad at the IRB tournament in Glasgow, meaning his final contribution for Edinburgh was to score Edinburgh’s last minute try in their Heineken Cup semi-final defeat against Ulster on Saturday.

Lozada is returning to France having agreed terms with Agen, while Blair is also leaving Edinburgh of his own volition. He announced last month that he was seeking a fresh challenge elsewhere. He has been mentioned as a target for French Top 14 outfit Perpignan and was also understood to have been in contact with Western Force in Australia, although his destination has not yet been finalised.

Transfer speculation linked Godman with Racing Metro, although that move appeared to founder when the Parisian outfit agreed a contract extension with Juan Martin Hernandez. Godman will mark his farewell with a 150th appearance for the club if he is involved on Saturday.

The latest batch of departures takes to 19 the tally of players leaving the SRU-controlled squads, with nine moving from Glasgow Warriors.

Edinburgh coach, Michael Bradley, will hope to conclude his first season at the helm with a win in Saturday’s encounter. He concedes that the delight of a place in the European semi-finals has been offset by a dismal run of league form.

“It’ll be an emotional day for fans and players alike, as they show their mutual appreciation for the role they’ve played for the club over the years”, he said.

“We’ve enjoyed an historic season in the Heineken Cup. However our form in the RaboDirect PRO12 league has been a constant frustration.”