SCOTLAND openside John Hardie has agreed a new one-year deal with Edinburgh, which could mean a big selection headache for incoming coach Richard Cockerill next season. Hamish Watson has been outstanding in adversity during this campaign and made the No 7 jersey his own while Hardie has been sidelined through injury, but the New-Zealand-born 28-year-old will be determined to reinstate himself as a first choice.

Hardie joined Edinburgh after the 2015 Rugby World Cup, having made his international debut earlier that year when he was a free agent after leaving the Highlanders. He had been expected to move on this summer, but injury has restricted his appearances this season.

His decision to sign a new, shorter contract gives him the time to play his way into the kind of form that so quickly made him a Scotland regular, and also provides Cockerill with some much-needed experience for a campaign that could see big changes at Edinburgh – as well as giving him a difficult weekly decision when it comes to selecting his starting No 7. “I’m looking forward to another year at Edinburgh,” Hardie said yesterday. “The club has been great to me since I arrived a few years ago, and I’ve loved every minute playing alongside the boys.

“It’s been a disappointing season for us all, but we’ve got a good squad and the potential to really kick on next season. There’s a good mix of youth and experience and we should really benefit from that going forward.”

Acting head coach Duncan Hodge suggested that the competition for back-row places would help raise the standards in the squad. “It’s great news for the club and Scottish rugby that John has committed to Edinburgh for another year,” said Hodge, who takes charge of the team for the last time in Saturday’s 1872 Cup match against Glasgow. “He’s an outstanding openside and gives everything for the shirt every time he takes to the field. It’s a real boost to the squad to add further depth to a highly competitive back row ahead of next season, and we’re looking forward to seeing the players thrive in that environment next year.”

After injuring a knee in Scotland’s Six Nations Championship win over Wales, Hardie made his comeback off the bench in Edinburgh’s victory over the Dragons, and is in contention for a start against the Warriors at Scotstoun.

“Glasgow are a very good side and playing at Scotstoun is going to be very tough,” lock forward Ben Toolis accepted. “They got one over us at Murrayfield, but we’ve won the last two years. We know that we can put some decent scores on.”