New Edinburgh deal for King - but McKenzie exits

James King and Fraser McKenzie
King and McKenzie will be playing in different teams next season

Forward Fraser McKenzie has rejected a new contract with Edinburgh but centre James King has committed to another two years with the Magners League club.

Versatile 23-year-old McKenzie has been linked with Sale Sharks, but the English outfit refuse to comment on new signings until they are completed.

King, who turned 25 last week and scored in Friday's defeat by Connacht, is delighted to remain at Murrayfield.

"It's great to have my future sorted. It's about kicking on again," he said.

King previously played professionally in Scotland for Border Reivers but was signed by Edinburgh after impressing with Melrose in Scotland's Premiership last season.

"I was thrilled when Edinburgh gave me the chance to get back into pro rugby last summer and I undertook to work as hard as I possibly could to make the most of that opportunity," said the forward, who also had a spell with Italian side L'Aquila.

"I missed a couple of months of the season with a thigh injury, but the coaches here have always said that, if you keep putting your hand up in training, you'll get your rewards in selection and I'd like to think that, when I have been in the team, I've shown I've got something to offer.

"It's been great training and playing alongside guys like Ben Cairns, Nick De Luca and John Houston - and I'm sure the competition that there is in that area of the team will stand us all in good stead moving forward."

Like King, McKenzie celebrated his birthday last week, but the Scotland Under-20 centre and product of the national academy will not have another one with Edinburgh after deciding to end his three-year spell at Murrayfield.

Should he join Sale, he will follow another of Scotland's emerging forward talents, Glasgow Warriors' Richie Vernon, to the English Premiership club this summer.

McKenzie joins 32-year-old Scotland lock Scott MacLeod, who has agreed a move to Japanese outfit Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers, in announcing his departure.

However, Edinburgh stress that King becomes the fifth player to sign a contract extension in recent weeks.

British and Irish Lion Ross Ford, reigning Magners League Young Player of the Season and the competition's current top try-scorer, Tim Visser, plus Lee Jones and Tom Brown, have all been retained.

Interim head coach Nick Scrivener, who is himself leaving Edinburgh in the summer, said: "James is a great example of a player who has got his head down, made real improvements to his game and has been rewarded in recent times in terms of both selection and performance.

"He's a talented guy who's prepared to listen to advice and, if he continues to show the same traits over the next couple of years, he'll be a big part of this club's future."

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