Edinburgh Rugby have added international power to their back row in the wake of their historic passage to the Heineken Cup semi-final.
Coach Michael Bradley has added powerful ball carrying number eight Dimitri Basilaia to the squad for next season, after the Georgian cap agreed a move from Valence d’Agen.
Balilaia has been an ever-present in Georgia’s feared physical approach and contributed a try against England in the side’s 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign in New Zealannd.
The 26-year-old will join up at Murrayfield, subject to a working visa, alongside fellow new-recruits WP Nel, the prop from Free State Cheetahs, and Northampton Saints back Greig Tonks.
The 23 times capped Basilaia paid tribute to his new team’s famous performance against Toulouse on Saturday, and vowed to meet the expectations of the fans.
He said: “It’s a great honour and opportunity for me to join such a high profile club and I’m really looking forward to being part of a very exciting future and playing alongside some very talented players.
“The arrival of a new player always heightens supporters’ enthusiasm and anticipation and I will not spare any efforts to meet those expectations from the moment I arrive in the capital.
“I’m in great shape, both physically and spiritually, and can’t wait to pull on the black and red shirt of Edinburgh Rugby.”
Head coach Bradley spotted the potential of the Georgian when he served alongside current Georgia boss Richie Dixon on Scotland’s team in the lead-up to the world cup.
Bradley is delighted to have got his man, who he thinks will fit in with the ethos of Edinburgh, who face Ulster at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin for a place in the Heineken Cup final.
Bradley said: “I believe that Dimitri will prove to be a very significant signing for Edinburgh Rugby.
“He’s a fantastic fit for this club and will contribute a huge amount to an increasingly aggressive and combative forward unit at Edinburgh Rugby, while his ball handling skills are such that we can maintain and strengthen our fast-paced, offloading game.
“Dima has a tremendous work ethic and attitude to the sport. He’s very excited about joining the club and I know he’ll give everything to honour the jersey.”