Edinburgh boss: We won’t let Wasps take Hardie

John Hardie is coveted
John Hardie is coveted
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Edinburgh Rugby managing director Jonny Petrie has dismissed rumours emerging from England that star back-row man John Hardie is a target for big-spending Wasps.

Over the summer Wasps lost their first-choice openside flanker George Smith as he returned home to Australia.

They have brought in top-quality players like Kurtley Beale and Danny Cipriani to their squad for the 2016/17 Aviva Premiership campaign.

And local newspapers in Coventry and fan websites have begun to speculate that Hardie could be heading south to fill Wasps’ No.7 jersey.

However, Petrie said: “I did read about that, but John is in contract to Edinburgh and, much like the other players, is looking forward to the season.

“I think he was late back to pre-season because he had to go back to New Zealand for his visa and he needed a good break because he had been playing non-stop for a long time.

“He came straight from Super Rugby last year into a World Cup with Scotland and then was involved with Edinburgh and the national team right through to the end of the Japan tour.

“As a result he was shattered and needed a good break, but he is back here and is keen to get going again.”

On the subject of contracts, head coach Alan Solomons’ contract is due to expire after the 2016/17 season.

Many supporters are keen to know what will happen in the longer-term and Petrie said: “There will be a point over the next while when we all sit down and look at what the future is for Alan, but just now we are genuinely only focused on getting the season under way.

“We are not in talks about the head coach just now. We have a coaching set-up for this year. It is pretty settled and we have continuity and consistency.

“Alan has clearly signed a year’s contract, there is no secret about that. There will be a time when we sit down and look what goes beyond that.

“Genuinely the focus just now is on improving and Alan has the bit between his team alongside his coaching team heading into the season.”

Petrie stated that the club still have one new recruit to announce next week with the Guinness PRO12 season now just a few days away.

That seems likely to be Fijian second-row Viliame Mata, 24, who played for his country at the Rio Olympics as they won sevens gold, but nothing has been confirmed yet by the club.