EDINBURGH scrum-halves Henry Pyrgos and Charlie Shiel have signed contract renewals and will compete for the No.9 jersey next season with new signing Ben Vellacott.

“Henry and Charlie are both important players for this club and each bring a different style and skillset to the position,” head coach Richard Cockerill said. “Henry is a proven international with a huge amount of experience in professional rugby, while his kicking and game management are integral to our overall attacking style.

“Charlie is still a young man learning his trade in the No 9 jersey, but has showcased a real desire to improve his own game, and has shown he can be a dangerous player, especially in open play. With Ben Vellacott joining the club next season, we’re really excited to see this group of scrum-halves compete and push each other on.”

Having agreed a new deal for an unspecified period, 31-year-old Pyrgos has cemented his place as one of the senior leaders at the team he joined from Glasgow three years ago. “Any time you change an environment you don’t quite know what to expect. I knew a few of the boys at Edinburgh from playing with them at Scotland and through age-grade rugby, so I had some understanding, but it was still a step into the unknown. “I’ve really enjoyed it.

Everyone at the club has made me really welcome, so it was a good decision.”

Pyrgos and his fellow-scrum-half Nic Groom have shared leadership duties over the past couple of seasons, including stints as captain, but the South African, also 31, is now set to leave the club at the end of the current campaign. That will leave Cockerill with a better age range in his group of No 9s: Vellacott, who will join from Wasps in the summer, is 27, while Shiel is three years younger.

Shiel has frequently been used as an impact sub this season, but he still hopes to establish himself as the starting scrum-half at some point in the near future. “It’s always fun being able to bring a buzz and energy to the position – especially later on in the game with so many world-class runners in this squad – but I’d still like to develop my own game to the point where I’m the starter at this club,” he said.

“It’s not been the same this season without any supporters and they are certainly missed by the entire squad. I can’t wait to pull on the jersey next season, hopefully in front of a packed-out crowd in our new home.”