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Edinburgh strengthens squad with new signings



Edinburgh Rugby is pleased to announce the signing of two players. Ross Rennie has committed to the club by signing a senior playing contract. The 20-year-old has been an apprentice with the capital side, as a member of Scottish Rugby's National Academy, since the beginning of last season, 2005/06.

The club is also pleased to have secured the services of lock Chris Bentley from NPC club, Tasman Makos, subject to a satisfactory medical. Previously Bentley played with Orrell, Biarritz and Exeter Chiefs and has represented England at under 21 level. His current coaching team at Tasman, which includes previous Edinburgh coach Todd Blackadder, are fulsome in their praise of the lock and believe he is a worthwhile acquisition for Edinburgh Rugby.

Rennie has been a familiar face in this year's team, starting in six of Edinburgh's seven matches, having previously come on as a substitute in only two games last season.  

The back row forward played for Scotland in the IRB Sevens World Series events in Paris and London in 2005, and following that, was signed by Edinburgh on an apprentice contract. He then played in the next six tournaments on the circuit last season, as well as representing the nation in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. He was also part of the Scotland squad in the IRB Under 21 World Championship in France last June.

Ross Rennie said: "I'm delighted to be recognised as a senior member of the squad. Playing with more experienced players at a higher level, I feel I've progressed this season. I was just hoping to get some game time mid-season and never expected to be given a start, so I was surprised to be named in the team when other players were injured. My game has progressed week to week and I'm learning all the time."

Edinburgh's head coach Lynn Howells said: "It's good to have a quality young player signed up. Ross has always shown potential and has been part of the Edinburgh team for most of the season. It's great to have secured another local Scottish player."

Speaking about signing Chris Bentley: "Having Chris on board gives us the experience we need when the international players are not available and will put pressure on the second rows we already have to perform to the best of their ability."

Alex Carruthers, Executive Chairman of Edinburgh Rugby, added: "The second row was an area that was identified as needing further strengthening by the interim coaching staff and this was reaffirmed when Lynn Howells joined us. Again, we're delighted given the timing in the season, to have acquired a player of Chris's stature. Chris joins us on the back of an NPC season, fit and raring to go, and with the forthcoming autumn tests, is likely to make an early appearance in the Magners League, given the number of our players announced in the recent Scotland squad. The search continues to further strengthen the Edinburgh squad.

He continued: "We are pleased that Ross has signed a senior playing contract after his spell as an apprentice. Ross has started all but one of our games this season and has performed well and our coaches feel he shows great promise. We have seen enough from this short time since taking ownership of the team to see Ross has a bright future ahead with Edinburgh Rugby. 


"This further strengthens our back row resource and we're well suited to bringing on a young, developing player. We hope he'll be the first of many to come through the Academy system. Ross's development has been greatly assisted by Michael Cavanagh and his team at the East of Scotland Institute of Sport."


Rennie was supported by the East of Scotland Institute of Sport for two years from May 2004 to May 2006, before moving on to become a second year apprentice. The ESIS provides support services to players in the SRU National Academy and during his time as an Institute athlete, he had access to an integrated support programme which included Strength & Conditioning, Sports Medicine, Sports Science and Performance Lifestyle. 


Michael Cavanagh from the Area Institutes of Sport, said: "The ESIS wishes Ross well in his career as a professional rugby player, and we look forward to him playing for the Scotland Senior National Team at some stage in the future, and hopefully be the first Area Institute supported player to achieve that goal."

ROSS RENNIE (Edinburgh and Stewart's Melville FP)
Back row. Born 29.3.86 in Edinburgh. Height: 6ft (1.84m). Weight: 15st 1lb (96kg).
Ross Michael Rennie, made his international seven-a-side debut at the IRB Emirates Airline London tournament in June 2005. On day two of the tournament he scored his first try in the 40-7 cup quarter-final loss to England. He went on to earn his second sevens cap a week later at the IRB GMF Paris Sevens. In season 2005-2006 he played in six tournaments in the IRB world sevens series as well as the Commonwealth Games sevens before going on to make a try-scoring debut for Scotland under-21 in the IRB world championship match against Australia in France, in June 2006, incidentally his first full 15-aside game in six months. A year earlier he had played in the IRB Under 19 World Championship in Durban, South Africa, where he added to earlier Scotland under-19 internationals appearances that season against Italy, England, and France. In December 2004, Ross was a member of the Scotland Sevens squad for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo, Australia, where they took the silver medal from the plate competition. In 15-a-side rugby, Ross helped Stewart's Melville FP to win promotion in 2005 to Premiership Division One in what was his first season with the club. As well as under-19s and sevens, Ross has represented his country at under-18 level and also Edinburgh in that age-group. He is a former pupil of Edinburgh Academy.

Edinburgh appearances: 8
International record: Scotland u18, u19, u21 and Scotland Sevens

CHRIS BENTLEY
Lock. Born 24.5.79 in Sunderland. Height: 1.98m. Weight: 118kg.
Chris Bentley joined Tasman Makos in 2006. He previously played for Orrell from 1999-2004, and received an award for making 54 consecutive appearances for the club. He then had a spell with Biarritz in 2004, before moving to Exeter Chiefs between 2004-2006. He has representative honours with England U21, Wellington (NZ) U21, and England Counties.

International record: England u21