EDINBURGH coach Richard Cockerill has taken two vital steps in rebuilding his squad for next season by signing stand-off Jono Lance from Worcester and centre Matt Gordon from London Scottish. With Simon Hickey and Matt Scott leaving at the end of the season, cover for both positions was a priority.

At 29, Lance played Super Rugby in his native Australia and New Zealand before moving to England and the Warriors in late 2017. He will compete for the No.10 jersey with Jaco van der Walt, as Hickey did in his time with Edinburgh.

“Jono is a very experienced playmaker that fits the mould of both the type of rugby player and person that we want at this club,” Cockerill said of the new recruit, who can also cover full-back. “He’s a good character that works hard for his team-mates and we believe that his skill set is well suited to the style of rugby we want to implement at Edinburgh. We’re delighted with the signing and look forward to working with Jono next season.”

Lance, who is currently back home in Australia, suggested that the more open and attacking style which Edinburgh adopted this season was one of the factors in his decision to move from England. “To get the chance to come to a club that has become one of the strongest in the Guinness PRO14 and to hopefully play Champions Cup rugby was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse,” he said. “The style of rugby Edinburgh have been playing is something that excites me and to have coaches who feel that you can be a big part of developing that brand of rugby was something I wanted to be a massive part of.”

Gordon, who is also Australian, is joining Edinburgh after a season with London Scottish. The 25-year-old, who previously played in the National Rugby Championship back home, echoed Lance in citing Edinburgh’s style of play as one of the attractions of moving north.

“They’ve put together a great squad over the last few seasons and are really starting to make their mark in both the Guinness PRO14 and European competitions,” he said. “They have very good basics and play an attractive brand of rugby. I was hugely impressed by the facilities as well as their aspirations and ambitions as a club. They consistently want to be competing at the top end of the game and that’s where every professional player wants to be.”

Despite the departure of Scott, Edinburgh still have considerable strength at centre, with Mark Bennett, Chris Dean, George Taylor and James Johnstone all contending for places, along with new signing Jordan Venter. However, Cockerill believes that Gordon’s style of play contrasts with what he already has at the club.

“Matt has been very impressive during his time with London Scottish so we’re excited to bring him on board,” the coach said. “He’s clearly a powerful man that runs very hard and direct – he’ll definitely add some grunt and strength to our midfield. We’ve already got a good group of centres here at the club, but we certainly think that Matt’s skillset adds a different dynamic and we’re excited to watch him develop.”

With the signings of Venter and Fijian prop Lee-Roy Atalifo having already been announced, Edinburgh have now completed the recruitment of four players for next season. Given nine players are leaving and Cockerill only expects his squad numbers to be down by one or two, several more signings should be on their way, with Scotland Under-20 stand-off Nathan Chamberlain and Ayrshire Bulls lock Marshall Sykes among those to interest the coach.