Dean primed to take centre stage

Edinburgh Rugby today announced the signing of Scotland 7s and under-20 starlet centre Chris Dean on a two-year deal.

A former pupil of Law Primary School and Edinburgh Academy, Dean lifted the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools' Cup in three consecutive seasons: in 2009 (under-15) and as under-18 captain in 2010 and 2011.

He has represented Scotland at every age-grade, and skippered Scotland under-17 through the Wellington Festival in 2011, before his development was fast-tracked on a Scotland 7s elite development player (EDP) contract in May 2012.

Aged 19 he scored three tries in last year’s Rugby World Cup 7s in Moscow and featured in seven tournaments on the HSBC Sevens World Series.

Since then he has divided his development between the abbreviated game, Edinburgh Accies in the RBS Premiership and the current under-20 RBS 6 Nations, before signing his first senior professional contract.

“It’s fantastic”, said Dean.

“I’m delighted with the opportunity to get back into the 15-a-side game, especially with a side I’ve grown up supporting.

“I’ve played through all the age grades for Edinburgh, and learned a lot during my time with Scotland 7s, but now I’m really looking forward to this step up.

“Alan Solomons [head coach] has made it very clear that he’s here to build a club rather than a team.

He’s looking towards the future, which is a great because it means bringing young Scots like me into the setup who will hopefully kick on over the next few years.”

- - Next season signing, Chris Dean

Dean is the third Scottish centre to put pen to paper at the capital club in as many weeks and follows the contract extension of 21-times capped Scotland centre Matt Scott and the recruitment of former age-grade internationalist Michael Tait from Newcastle Falcons.

He admitted the flight path of Scott, who joined the club as an EDP in 2011, is indicative of the potential presented by his new deal.

“Someone like Matt [Scott], who has come through the system, is a real role model”, added Dean. “Especially in the way his career has skyrocketed.

“I know him quite well and he’s certainly someone I’ll look to learn from, as well as the other quality players at the club.”

Edinburgh Rugby head coach, Alan Solomons, added: “Chris [Dean] is one of the bright young talents of Scottish rugby.

To build a sustainable club we have got to run a strong youth system, where the development of the players is accelerated through their exposure to an experienced, senior squad.

“Chris is very talented. He has done very well in the Scotland 7s set-up and for our national age-grade sides. He is a player of real ability and potential.

“It’s great to have a young Scottish talent like that as part of the club.”