John Hardie: Edinburgh sign Scotland flanker until 2017

John Hardie playing for Scotland against Australia
Hardie played in three of Scotland's World Cup matches

Edinburgh have signed Scotland flanker John Hardie on a two-year contract.

The 27-year-old was a free agent after leaving Highlanders prior to the Rugby World Cup.

Hardie, born in New Zealand with a Scottish grandmother, helped the Scots reach the quarter-finals of the tournament.

"It's a privilege to have the opportunity to stay in Scotland and play for a Scottish club," he said of his move to the Pro12 side.

"I see it as an exciting new challenge in my rugby career and I am really looking forward to joining up with the squad and competing for a place in the team.

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"Edinburgh have made a strong start to the season and I hope I can help the boys and contribute to continuing that success."

Alan Solomons' side have won all four of their league matches so far this season.

"We are very happy to welcome John to Edinburgh," said the head coach. "He is a quality player who will add real value to our squad."

Hardie played for Southland in New Zealand before joining Super Rugby Highlanders, where he spent five years.

After being included in Vern Cotter's Scotland squad for the World Cup, he played in two of the warm-up matches for the tournament and then scored two tries in Pool B.

He was part of the side that lost 35-34 to Australia on Sunday, as the Scots came close to reaching the semi-finals for the first time since 1991.

Hardie part of 'best Scottish team'

John Beattie playing for Scotland against England in 1980
John Beattie, pictured here in 1980, says additions like Hardie have worked for Scotland

Former Scotland back-row forward John Beattie says adding players like Hardie to the national squad "is working".

South Africa-born pair Josh Strauss and WP Nel joined Hardie in the Scots' World Cup squad after qualifying under residency rules while playing for Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh respectively under Scottish Rugby's 'project signings' system.

"Scottish rugby has pretty shaky grassroots foundations but in terms of how the national team is being looked after, we can build on something," said Beattie, who won 25 caps for Scotland between 1980 and 1987.

"There's a good coach in place. You can see that bringing in players from abroad is working - projects signings Strauss and Nel, that's working. Bringing in Hardie, who had already turned Scotland down three times, that worked.

"Whether it's the right or wrong thing to do, it's working.

"In terms of the top team, undoubtedly a good coach and a structure in place to make it work is having an effect. That team played better than any Scottish rugby team I think I've ever seen, even the 1990 Grand Slam team.

Scottish Rugby director of rugby Scott Johnson, who was interim head coach before Cotter took charge, believes it is "vital we continue to recruit well to develop our professional teams".

"John has proved himself to be an excellent professional and his performances during the Rugby World Cup consolidated our belief that we would like him continuing his rugby in Scotland," said the Australian.

"His addition to the Edinburgh Rugby squad will strengthen both his connection to rugby in the country and the team."