DAMIEN Hoyland believes that Edinburgh are in the best shape he has seen on and off the field since making his debut in 2015, and as a result had no hesitation in signing a new contract.

The 28-year-old back-three player made his comeback from a four-month injury lay-off last weekend and is now poised to play in some of the team’s biggest games of the season, starting on Saturday when they welcome Wasps to the DAM Health Stadium in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup. “This will be my ninth season at Edinburgh and it’s the most excited I’ve ever been in my rugby career,” the 28-year-old said yesterday after putting pen to paper on his new deal, the length of which has not been revealed. 

“The brand of rugby we’re playing and the environment in the team is the best it’s ever been and I’m extremely proud to be part of that. I’m really happy and really excited about staying here at my hometown club. 

“It’s an exciting time for the club. It almost feels like a new club compared to where I’ve been for the last eight seasons.”

Hoyland’s return to action comes at an opportune time for both himself and the team, with full-back Henry Immelman and winger Ramiro Moyano having just been ruled out for the rest of the season because of injury. “You never want to see anyone out with injury and I know how rubbish it feels,” he continued. 

“But it’s an opportunity for me to put my hand back up after being out for a while. I can’t wait to do my bit to help finish the year off with a bang as we build up to a number of huge fixtures.”

Wasps come to Edinburgh on the back of a 42-42 league draw with London Irish last weekend, and Hoyland believes that the English club’s style of play will help ensure that Saturday's match is an open, entertaining contest. “It was a pretty epic game. I was going to turn it off after 50-60 minutes because Wasps looked like they were running away with it, but London Irish came back into it really well. 

“I think you could see the brand of rugby Wasps like to play. We both like playing an open style and it’s going to be a really entertaining game of rugby when they come here. It’s a challenge we’re looking forward to.”