MacLeod completes Edinburgh switch
January 29, 2009
McLeod in action for Scotland against Wales during last year's Six Nations clash at the Millennium Stadium © Getty Images
Edinburgh have signed Scott MacLeod after the Scotland lock was released by the Scarlets.
The 29-year-old returns to his homeland after two and a half years with the Welsh region.
MacLeod hit the headlines last year when he tested positive for a banned substance and also elevated levels of testosterone. But he was cleared in both cases after his explanations were accepted by the Scottish Rugby Union and UK Sport.
"I definitely feel like I'm making the right move and I'm really excited at the prospect of playing for Edinburgh," MacLeod said on confirmation of his move north. "I was coached by Andy Robinson while on tour with Scotland over in Argentina and working with him on a day-to-day basis will definitely help me to improve as a player.
"He is a hard coach, but he gets the best out of his players. It is the best move I could have made at this stage in my career, especially after going through a difficult year. I'm looking forward to a fresh start and working hard towards achieving my career goals for both Edinburgh and Scotland.
"Away from rugby, my wife and I recently had our first baby, so moving back closer to home will make a big difference. I'm also good friends with Allan Jacobsen and a lot of the other boys which will make the move a lot easier."
MacLeod's return to Scotland - where he played for the now-defunct Border Reivers until 2006 - is another boost for national head coach Frank Hadden. Because of the problems Hadden has encountered gaining access to his foreign-based internationals, he is keen for as many of them as possible to join Edinburgh or Glasgow.
Both clubs are at the behest at the SRU when it comes to releasing players for Test matches.MacLeod follows Chris Cusiter in joining one of the two sides this week. The Scotland and British & Irish Lions scrum-half agreed a three-year deal with Glasgow on Tuesday and will link up with them in the summer.
MacLeod, who was left out of the Scotland squad for next Sunday's Six Nations opener against Wales, hopes moving to Edinburgh will revitalise his Test career. "If I can manage to get into the Edinburgh team then it will benefit my game and could probably increase my chances of playing for Scotland," said the 21-times capped player.
Robinson, whose 11 signings since taking charge of Edinburgh in October 2007 have all been Scotland-qualified, said: "Scott is a quality second-row forward and he will provide extra strength in that department, especially with Matt (Mustchin) and Steven (Turnbull) still ruled out through injury.
"I'm looking forward to working with him again after our time together in Argentina and I believe he will be a useful signing. He will have to work hard in order to challenge for a place in our pack and his arrival underlines our ambitions as we look to achieve our best ever finish in the Magners League. This is a good move for both Edinburgh and Scottish Rugby."